Please select your home edition
Grapefruit Graphics 2019 - Leaderboard

Mozambique security update

by Des Cason, 31 Jan 09:31 UTC

Cruisers planning to visit Mozambique and passage the Mozambique channel are being advised to be extremely cautious according to experienced South African cruiser Des Cason.

He told Noonsite that since the publication of his Madagascar and Mozambique channel cruising notes in 2014, he has seen an increase in a number of issues of concern to cruisers to the point where he advises that Mozambique should be treated as a "No-Go" zone.

While he did not personally experience these issues, Des was in close contact with the cruisers who went through the experiences which he has detailed in this report.

Terrorist activities increasing:

Since the discovery of what is purported to be the second largest natural gas field known (midway between Mozambique and Madagascar) the activities of Islamic jihadist groups in the northern regions of Mozambique have increased dramatically. They seem to be very active in the regions north of Nacala up to the Tanzanian border and reports indicate that their intention is inter alia to disrupt the construction of the infrastructure for the exploitation of this field. A number of deaths are attributed to their activities and a Russian defense contractor has withdrawn their military staff due to the risk.

A number of cruisers with humanitarian aims have gone ashore on this coast line and without exception have been subjected to hostile receptions and in two cases were held against their will by local tribal leaders who have come under the influence of these jihadis. It has to be realized that the days of engaging with the local tribes are over and would recommend that under no circumstances set foot on land north of Ilha Mozambique.

Bazaruto Archipelago:

The accepted stop over in the channel en route to South Africa is the Bazaruto Archipelago and over the past two years close to 200 yachts have utilized the shelter behind Bazaruto whilst waiting for a weather window down south. Up until 2017 no problems were experienced despite technically being within the territorial waters of Mozambique without having gone through the normal check in procedures.

All this changed in 2017 when a clever entrepreneur "Africa style" hit upon the idea to inform the authorities at the nearest entry port in Vilanculos so he could get a share of the spoils/bribes/fines etc.

As a consequence, six yachts were boarded and threatened by armed officials. This entailed confiscation of passports and threats of yachts being attacked. They reportedly settled on fines etc in excess of $200 per person.

The recommended anchorage is behind Bazaruto +- 13 down the west coast and apart from a small fishing village comprising a few huts on the beach you are out of sight of the lodges operating on the island and obviously also the officials in Vilanculos which is +-20nm SW of the anchorage on the mainland. It would be in cruisers' interest and also their fellow cruisers interest to resist the temptation to do the tourist thing and go "walk about" on Bazaruto. This is not a sight seeing stopover and your odds of being confronted by the authorities increase exponentially if you pitch up at the lodges as they consider cruisers to be a negative as we supposedly "lower the tone" whatever that means.

Inhambane/Ling Linga:

The next area of concern is Inhambane/Ling Linga which, due to its configuration, is seen by many cruisers as an attractive stop over. Once again the corruption of the local officials in cahoots with the lodge managements have been successful in extracting vast amounts of money from yachties who willfully ignored my warnings.

Due to the convoluted channel you need to navigate (a French yacht was lost on the sand bar in 2018 which is tidal), you are trapped and it is impossible to get out except on the right tide. Any attempt to duck the officials is stymied due to the channel and tides and it is an easy matter for the officials on a motorized launch to catch up with you whilst you are still in the channel. Obviously the lodge management is complicit in this scam regardless of whether you have checked in or not. They will always find some excuse to demand exorbitant amounts of cash.

Ilha Mozambique:

The only entry port which has had consistent good reports is Ilha Mozambique where the port captain has gone out of his way to assist yachties who have called there.

In a nutshell regardless of the general perception - Mozambique is a "no go" zone and you ignore this at your peril.

Related Articles

Calling all boat bimblers!
Show us what you've been up to this winter, or are doing now! If you have spent the winter engrossed in boat DIY, whether it was small modifications or massive rebuilds, would love to hear from you. We think it's time to share your story with the world. Posted on 29 Mar
University of Gothenburg ice research
Floating ice walls partly deflect warm ocean currents The research was led by the University of Gothenburg and used data and research from CSIRO. Floating ice walls - the edge of the floating ice shelf - are connected to landmass. Icebergs detach from ice shelves to join the ocean. Posted on 2 Mar
Good news from the Maldives
Clearance costs are set to reduce substantially Historically a country that favored land-based tourists more than those arriving on their own keel, Maldives clearance costs are set to reduce substantially from 1st April, 2020 in an effort to make this island group more cruiser/sailor friendly. Posted on 29 Feb
Passage season from Panama across the Pacific
Some important changes to note this year Passage season from Panama across the Pacific is upon us with the Galapagos, French Polynesia and Pacific islands gearing up for the seasonal influx of yachts. Posted on 27 Feb
what3words:The simplest way to talk about location
Communicate any precise location using just three words what3words is the simplest way to talk about location. The location technology company is enabling people around the world to identify and share any precise location using just three words. Posted on 19 Feb
Sailing Into Oblivion
Jerome Rand to speak at a free event in Winsconsin For Jerome Rand, what began as daydreams and seemingly fanciful imaginings became a real life adventure sailing solo unassisted and nonstop around the world. Posted on 8 Feb
Bluewater cruising seminars in 2020
Comprehensive weekends to kick-start your bluewater cruising preparations! Combining classroom lectures with group discussions and one-on-one interaction with speakers and fellow students, World Cruising Club's seminars share knowledge from those who have 'been there and done it'. Posted on 7 Feb
Guatemala, Rio Dulce: The best kept secret
Rio is possibly the number one refuge in the western Caribbean Once a hideaway for Spanish Galleons, now one of the best, not so well kept, secrets of the Caribbean for yachts is the Rio Dulce and Fronteras town where upwards of 1000 yachts stay semi-permanently or for hurricane season from June to December. Posted on 31 Jan
Treasure & Shipwreck Recovery cannon find
Video and update on operations off coast of Florida Among items identified was a cannon from the period and an anchor, which was recovered, along with other items. The Company used the recently announced purchased data to make the finds on initial dives. Posted on 18 Dec 2019
Canadian sailor conducts global sailing risk study
Considered the first of its kind, the review will capture data on sailing risks rPM3 today announced the launch of a new Sailing Risk Assessment to gather feedback from the global sailing community to identify and measure the potential risks of sailing. Posted on 3 Dec 2019
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - FooterVaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 3Sailing Holidays 2019 - BOTTOM