A Middle East in upheaval is making the traditional round the world route perilous

More on the subject of cruising risks and places you’d probably want to steer clear of.

I’ve been forwarded an email from a British yachtsmen who has just been in the Yemeni port of Aden. He writes:

‘I left Aden last night midnight as mass protests on street and gunfire around. Army out with 50 cal on back of jeeps.

‘Mine was the only boat there and feeling like the last tomato in a salad. I managed to get my passport back from immigration in the afternoon, and just thought “I’m going” [when I was] stopped by a port control launch with Kalashnikov bloke on front.

‘They ordered me back to anchorage fives times. I refused, saying that there was gunfire on the street, I’m a UK boat and I want to leave now. After half an hour he called off the dogs and gave me permission to leave.’

I’m not a bit surprised that things in Yemen are edgy. Could it be otherwise? There have been violent protest rallies and clashes between police and anti-government demonstrators throughout February.

As I blogged last week, the political situation in many places is volatile and it’s something that one needs to bear in mind when planning a long cruise – especially if planning it well in advance. By the time you get there, things might have changed radically.

No-one can know what might happen in Yemen, or indeed in Egypt for those continuing on the now perilous route across the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea.

But to add to the worries, these uncertainties could also have an effect on insurance cover.

A couple of the big marine insurance companies told me today that for the moment they are still insuring yachts for this route, but most policies don’t cover war risks including civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection, civil strife or hostile acts, confiscation or expropriation.

In every sense it’s important to keep abreast of the fast-changing geopolitical picture. And, at a more local level anywhere in the world, the reception visiting sailors can expect.