January 23, 2010 (Security Report – Gulf of Aden)

JANUARY 23 – AT SEA (Security Report)

It is 5 PM my time (9 AM – EST) and later this evening we will leave the Red Sea between Yemen and Somalia and travel in the Gulf of Aden for the next two days; an area well documented in the media for piracy.

My Mom asked me about security precautions taken by the ship, so I thought it would be prudent to share my response with all of you.

First of all, let me put your mind at ease about the QM2 as a viable target. We are not. Why? Many reasons…

1- We will be traveling through the area at about 28 Knots, which is way to fast for the pirates to catch us. The fastest ship they have successfully boarded was traveling at 14 Knots.

2- Even if they could catch up, they wouldn’t be able to climb onto the ship. Our lowest deck is 20 feet higher then their dinky ladders can reach.

3 – We will have the Royal Navy shadowing us during our transit through the Gulf, as well as ships from other countries who are there to protect vessels from pirates. Assuredly, they will all want the bragging rights of “Protecting the Queen Mary”. Plus, we have a “big wig” from the Royal Navy on board with us right now.

4 – Look who showed up to say hello this morning (see photo below)! How cool is that?!? A US Warship – that steamed up our starboard side to greet us (and take pictures of course). Steve held up a MAINE sign from our balcony – and we were treated to whistles and cheers! TOTALLY AWESOME. Perhaps we will be on the news! Look for us!

5 – And, here is the comical reason we are an unlikely target. The last thing the Somali Pirates want to deal with is all the ancient people on board. Heart attacks, diabetes, dementia, constipation, Alzheimer, wheelchairs, glaucoma, prostate problems, and general “old fart” orneriness. The slower moving vessels with small crews are much easier to manage, and the pirates are opportunists.

So there you have it.

From tonight through January 25th when we leave the Gulf of Aden – no one will be allowed on the outside decks between sunset and sunrise. Only essential open deck lights will be lit. We have been instructed to close our drapes at night to eliminate the light emanating from the upper decks. It will be very difficult to spot us from a distance.

We had a “Guest and Crew Drill” a few days ago and were given explicit instructions on what to do if there is a threat. Close and lock our balcony door. Close the drapes and sit in the hallway until all is clear.

So, no worries here.

The US Navy keeps us safe in the Gulf of Aden.

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