Citing concerns about piracy, Star Clippers will not deploy any ships to the Far East next winter for the first time in a decade.
The tall-ship cruise line said that it will send the Star Clipper to the Caribbean in November 2010, where the ship will sail seven-day, roundtrip cruises out of St. Maarten following its summer season in the eastern Mediterranean.
Star Clippers has positioned one of three ships in the Far East during the winter for the last 10 years, visiting countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The line said in a statement that "geopolitical conditions not related directly to the destinations themselves have dictated this decision."
"Due to the rise of piracy in the Strait of Malacca, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, and the increasing boldness of the pirates, we believe it is not prudent to transit those areas between our cruising grounds in the Mediterranean and the Far East," stated Mikael Krafft, owner of Star Clippers. "The future stability of the region is too unpredictable at this time.
"It is our sincere hope that the piracy situation can be alleviated, and when that happens, we plan to return to Thailand and Malaysia," he added.
In March 2009, Star Clippers decided to pull the Star Flyer from its year-round Tahiti schedule for summer 2010, citing the benefit of closer-to-home destinations due to the economy.
All three Star Clipper vessels will be deployed to the Mediterranean this summer.