EU NAVFOR to piracy hostages: “Drugs are bad”

Mike Schuler
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November 16, 2010

There is no doubt that the threat of piracy is real and still raging off the coast of Somalia and elsewhere in the world.  Vessels are being hijacked, hostages are being taken, ransoms are being paid and with how it stands now, this threat is going to continue into the foreseeable future.  In fact, the AP just reported that there are approximately 500 mariners being held hostage at this very moment.

In oder to cope with this threat, the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), the military cooperation tasked with protecting vulnerable vessels sailing through the Gulf of Aden, has released a set of tips to help prepare those at risk of captivity.  The tips include the obvious yet good-to-know points like be patient, remain calm, accept the fact you are a hostage, and prepare yourself and your family on the dangers involved with transiting the area, however one tip in particular kind of caught us off guard; Don’t do drugs.  EU NAVFOR explains;

Khat is a common drug used in the Somali region.  If the pirates onboard your vessel use this or other drugs, you should be careful to avoid any confrontations whilst they are under the influence of such substances.  You should not be tempted to take drugs, other than legitimate medical conditions, whilst in captivity.  The taking of drugs may offer temporary relief, however the negative effects of withdrawal symptoms and increased tension due to cravings could result in unnecessary violence from your captors.

As it turns out, there is one thing that remains constant no matter where you are, or what your circumstance: DRUGS ARE BAD!!

For more tips on surviving piracy, check out the EU NAVFOR pamphlet HERE (PDF).

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