Christophe Keckeis, Head of security for PlanetSolar

Yverdon-les-Bains - Currently docked at Adnec Marina in Abu Dhabi to take part as a guest of honour at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES), PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar ship is actively preparing for the dangerous crossing of the Gulf of Aden under the responsibility of Christophe Keckeis, former chief of the Swiss armed forces.

After more than 49'000 km covered using solar energy only, which represents approximately the 4/5ths of its world tour, the MS Turanor PlanetSolar is about to start its most perilous stage from a security point of view since the beginning of its expedition. It is under the supervision of the former Swiss Army chief, the corps commander in active retirement Christophe Keckeis, that the solar ship will start going up the Red Sea. The next few weeks are going to be gruelling for the whole PlanetSolar team.

"We will not take any risk with the security of this crew achieving the first world tour using solar energy!", warns Christophe Keckeis whose main mission is to deter any pirates attack in the seas along the Arabian Peninsula. "We will do everything to protect this vessel that is sailing under Swiss flag!"

Christophe Keckeis stresses that, with its normal speed of 4 to 6 knots, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar is too slow. It cannot be integrated within the stream of other ships and tankers that are sailing the secured corridors at more than 18 knots.

"We were aware of the piracy risks even before our departure more than 16 months ago.", explains Raphael Domjan, Initiator and Expedition Leader of PlanetSolar. "We are actively preparing to going up the Red Sea for months because the danger is very real. Those past weeks, the most optimistic numbers are reporting around 200 hostages; some even mention 290 persons being held captive in pirates rear bases!"

This dangerous navigation should last for a few weeks depending on the weather conditions. The preparation can be broken down in several phases; thoroughly spotting the area, an in-depth knowledge of the risks and inspecting the ship's security system as well as the emergency procedures which are drilled over and over again. In addition to the on board crew composed of additional security specialists of the highest level, the protection of the solar catamaran and its sailors will only be possible with the collaboration of other States and partners.

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