Are luxury yachts in the Med at risk from terrorists?
Are the luxurious lifestyles of Med-based superyacht owners about to be put in jeopardy? A former Royal Navy admiral has warned that with Isis taking to the seas there is an increasing security risk to luxury yachts and other shipping in the Mediterranean.
Isis – the Islamic State militant group – could single out “the super-rich” as part of a piracy campaign that would threaten shipping from Gibraltar to Greece, according to Rear Admiral Chris Parry.
A story in the Sunday Times says superyachts and commercial vessels in the Mediterranean could come under attack from heavily armed Isis fighters using speedboats to conduct attacks from the Libyan coast.
“Yachting, any leisure activity, is going to be under threat,” he said. “If I were the likes of the super-rich I would be getting a bit concerned about my physical security.”
According to Parry, Isis pirates would pose a greater danger than the Somalis who have attacked shipping in the Indian Ocean, because they are better armed, with an “endless supply” of fighters and weapons from Syria and Libya.
Possible vulnerability of yachts in the Med
A former head of the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, a Ministry of Defence (MoD) think tank, Parry has highlighted the vulnerability of shipping in the Med before. He published a report in 2006 warning north African “barbary pirates” could attack yachts and beaches in the Mediterranean within 10 years.
His concerns were echoed last week by Admiral Jim Stavridis, a former Nato supreme allied commander Europe, who said Italy was particularly exposed to “extremely high” risk.
“The Isis fighters can either slip in with the waves of illegal migrants or they can simply hire a boat and come ashore on one of the islands,” he cautioned.
Stavridis suggested that Italy could convene a meeting under article 4 of the north Atlantic treaty, which allows any Nato member to consult its allies whenever it believes that “the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the parties is threatened”.