Britain’s Royal Navy has rejected a request by a cruising couple to give a convoy of around 30 yachts escort to the start of the Gulf of Aden, Salalah.
Dutch cruising sailors Rene and Edith Tiemessen, who previously sailed with kidnapped sailors Paul and Rachel Chandler, have organised a rally/convoy from Thailand to Turkey and appealed for help from the British Navy several months ago.
Rene and Edith Tiemessen, a Dutch couple sailing with their two-year-old daughter on a 60ft yacht, Alondra, have organised a 30-yacht convoy from Thailand to Turkey and asked the Navy for protection over four days of the journey.
But the Royal Navy, which heads the EU anti-piracy taskforce (Operation Atlanta), has told them that it does not have the resources.
Mr Tiemessen said:
“We have been begging for help for months, because we knew we would have to make this journey to get home, which is the same for all the other sailors stranded here. Something bad is going to happen. The families on these boats are starting to panic and go off in different directions. With the dramatic increase in pirate activity in the Indian Ocean I cannot believe that all 100 yachts can get through unscathed.”
Last night a Ministry of Defence source said:
“We received communication from this couple, demanding protection from a naval warship, which they want to escort them through a stretch that could take two or three weeks to navigate. This is a totally unrealistic request. The naval vessels of Operation Atalanta have to prioritise their duties, and protecting merchant vessels leave them with little scope for protecting unnecessary sailing.”
Speaking via satellite phone last night, Rene, 48, said:
“We have been begging for help for months, because we knew we would have to make this journey. But now they have told us there is nothing they can do. It’s like asking for help from the police, and being told you are not eligible.”
Rene and Edith, 41, sailed with the Chandlers, from Kent, two years ago. The British couple were released last year after 388 days in captivity following the reported payment of a GBP625,000 ransom.
Here you can follow them on Twitter: @renetiemessen
More on their website: http://www.alondrasailing.com