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Because Of Somali Pirates, Ocean Racers Are In A 'Stealth Zone'

The Groupama Sailing Team (shown here on Dec. 10 near Cape Town, South Africa) is somewhere out ahead in the "stealth zone."
Volvo Ocean Race
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Getty Images
The Groupama Sailing Team (shown here on Dec. 10 near Cape Town, South Africa) is somewhere out ahead in the "stealth zone."

The six-boat, nine-month-long, 39,000-mile Volvo Ocean Race that started in Spain two months ago and is set to end in Ireland next July, has entered its "stealth zone" — an area off the coast of Somalia where the teams' progress will not be precisely broadcast to the world because of the threat in that part of the Indian Ocean from pirates.

"Boat tracks and data will be hidden from the public once they reach a certain point in the Indian Ocean," the race's organizers say on their "race tracker" page.

Right now, for instance, the site shows that the Groupama Sailing Team is in the lead, but gives no information about its location in that stealth zone — which covers "an area ... from the northern tip of Madagascar to the United Arab Emirates."

And the racers are heading "towards a safe haven port, where they will be loaded onto a ship for transportation through the worst affected waters and on to a point off the Sharjah coast, where they will resume racing to Abu Dhabi," the race website says.

There's more about the reasons in this video.

(H/T to NPR's Scott Neuman.)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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