Piracy Threat Forces Volvo Ocean Race to be Rerouted

Posted August 18th, 2011 at 12:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Organizers of the Volvo Ocean Race say the piracy threat in the Indian Ocean has forced them to reroute two parts of the round-the-world contest.

Race chief Knut Frostad says organizers made their decision after consulting with naval and commercial intelligence experts about the security risks.

In a statement released Thursday, Frostad says the experts' warning against sticking to the original route “could not have been clearer.”

Race organizers have scrapped the second leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, and the third leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya in China.

Instead, competitors will race from Cape Town to an undisclosed “safe haven” port. From there, the competitors will be transported closer to Abu Dhabi.

The process will be reversed for the third leg and then competitors will resume the original course.

Somali pirates have netted millions of dollars in ransom by seizing ships in the Indian Ocean, despite international naval patrols designed to stop such attacks.

The pirates have grown increasingly bold in recent years and have ventured up to 2,000 kilometers from Somalia to capture vessels.

The Volvo Ocean Race is set to begin in Alicante, Spain on October 29. The race will take competitors to 10 host ports before finishing in July of 2012.