Kenya's tourism industry has suffered a further blow following revelations that naval experts believe the entire coastline could be under threat from attacks by Somalian pirates
News that a European naval force operating a counter-piracy operating in the region believes that the danger has spread is bound to act as a deterrent to those planning holidays to the country's beach resorts.
The UK Foreign Office had already issued advise against travel to within 150kms of the Somali border following the murder of a British man and the kidnapping of his wife and, later, a French woman, forcing tour operators to cancel trips to the luxury resorts of Lamu for the foreseeable future.
However, according to a report in the Sunday Times, the European Naval Force Somalia has warned the danger could extend to the rest of the coastline.
The paper quoted commander Harrie Harrison saying: “Somali pirates operate from the southern Red Sea... down past Kenya and through the Mozambique Channel. Distance is not an issue and these criminal gangs are adapting year on year. With the current improving weather after the southwest monsoon, we expect a surge in piracy attacks and consider the whole of the operating area, which is the size of western Europe, liable to be at risk.”
Kenya's tourism authorities said extra police had been drafted in to protect hotels on the coastline and there was helicopter surveillance of the border with Somalia.
By Linsey McNeill
Monday, October 10, 2011