Pirates? What Pirates?
08 November 2008 | Mindanao, Philippines
The Sulu Sea and the Celebes sea, both bordering west and south of Mindanao, have always been notorious for pirates. Every cruising article and news I read about Sulu or Mindanao, the word "pirates" appear and this generates feelings of fear. "Stay away!" is the general consensus about sailing Mindanao. However, if you read carefully, there are actually no news about pirates attacking pleasure yachts. If there are any attacks, which are so few, they were very localized and they were on fishermen, not pleasure yachts. You can verify this with the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Center at http://www.icc-ccs.org/main/index.php.
One can say that maybe there are no pleasure yachts passing through. This is why there are no reports on attacks. True, and I cannot verify this for certain. All I am certain of is that the east coast of Mindanao and in the Davao Gulf, it is safe. Of course, you must take normal precautions against petty thieves and crimes, just like in any other areas. But, pirates? I don't think so. Halloween is just around the corner, and the only pirate you will see is "Captain Hook" going around trick or treating.
In the general area of Southern Mindanao, in particular the Moro Gulf, Basilan strait, Zamboanga, Jolo and Tawi Tawi, it is worthwhile to know that the U.S. have set up "forward operating bases" supporting the Philippine Armed Forces in their efforts to subdue the Muslim rebel groups in the area. This is probably one more reason why news of pirate attacks have drastically decreased in the last few years.