Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Saturday, September 24, 2016



An English government agency released a frightening report this week. It listed the most treacherous waterways in the world and provided warnings for overseas citizens. The report also listed the reasons for caution. The top fear on the Seven Seas remains piracy…the number of armed robberies on the oceans continues to rise. The second concern involves bodies of water with dangerous conditions; places with constant storms and swift currents. Finally, some waterways remain shrouded in mystery, with inexplicable incidents still occurring. Here are the top five most dangerous waterways:
#5. Bermuda Triangle. Surprisingly making the UK list was the infamous Bermuda Triangle. Stretching from the remote island of Bermuda to Miami, Florida and Puerto Rico, this mysterious section of the Atlantic continues to baffle logic. Planes, cargo ships and yachts seem to simply vanish. Scientists will tell you it has more to do with the powerful Gulf Stream, but no one can explain why so many more UFO’s appear here than anywhere else.
#4. Gulf of Guinea. Africa’s most populated coastline is found on the Atlantic shores between Nigeria and Ghana. Oil tankers leaving Port Harcourt have always been targeted, as angry locals see their best natural resource extracted and refined by foreign corporations while they remain shut out of the enormous profits. However, the last couple of years has seen piracy expand to other trading vessels. In fact, it has seen the largest increase in armed intrusions at sea of any place on earth.
#3. Drake Passage. In the Northern Hemisphere, not many ships ever sail above sixty degrees. There is little reason to ship to Iceland or across the Bering Strait. However, in the Southern Hemisphere, ocean freighters are constantly skirting this parallel when they round the tip of South America, Tiera del Fuego. Here, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current carries a staggering volume of water: 600 times larger than the Amazon River. That’s a lot of frozen water whisking your craft in the opposite direction.
#2. Straits of Aden. Featured prominently in the Tom Hanks’ movie Captain Philips, the pirates of the Somali coast are now common knowledge. This means more and more freighters are taking precautions against them, and the number of heists in the Straits of Aden is in decline. In fact, that they are now in the #2 spot. Nonetheless, they still do strike at will, raiding ginormous ocean tankers with audacious tactics that would make Billy the Kid proud.
#1. Straits of Malacca. Getting from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean isn’t as easy as it looks. The sprawling islands of Indonesia prove to be formidable barriers. This results in a narrow ‘choke point’ called the Straits of Malacca.  Named after the sultan who controlled them for centuries, it’s estimated that one sixth of all world trade passes through
here. While piracy has always been an issue here, it has skyrocketed in recent years. Many attribute this to the never-ending Sumatran wildfires, which engulf the strait in a permanent haze. This makes it easier for pirates to sail unnoticed.  

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