Be Aware: New European Travel Alerts and Global Advisories

7 October 2010 By Janine Ketterer

Many crew hail from Europe and wouldn’t bat an eyelash at heading home after a long season while the yacht hitches a ride across the Pond on a transport vessel. However, recent events and travel alerts may encourage crew to stay away from Europe for the time being.

As of October 3, 2010, the U.S. government issued a travel alert concerning Europe. Although not a travel warning, the U.S. State Department issued this statement: “The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.” This advisory will continue until January 31, 2011. The U.S. government advises citizens planning travel to Europe in the interim, to please contact the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website. reported, “‘We have credible information that justified the alert, but it is not specific at this point,’ State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters.”

On the heels of the U.S. government’s travel alert, other countries such as “[The] UK, Sweden and Japan have updated advice to citizens travelling in Europe to warn of the possibility of terror attacks there,” reported, adding that the reason for the warnings comes from information gathered by the United States after arresting a German citizen in Afghanistan in July 2010. The information obtained alludes to an al-Qa’ida plot to obtain and kill hostages in the UK, France and Germany, much like the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India.

On October 6, 2010, stated that France issued a travel warning to citizens planning to visit or visiting the United Kingdom. “France has warned its citizens about travel to the United Kingdom, saying British authorities believe a terror attack is ‘highly likely.’ The move follows a United States warning that Americans be careful about traveling in Europe because of the risk of terror attacks. Neither the UK nor France raised threat levels in response to the American warning, but each has now warned its citizens about travel elsewhere on the continent,” reported

Apart from the latest alerts, many governments around the world post advisories to ensure their citizens' safety when traveling. Some advisories are just that, suggestions to be aware and keep safe. However, on occasion it’s necessary for governments put restrictions on citizens, impeding them from traveling to a particular place. Regardless, it’s important to be aware of where you can and cannot, should and should not go...and why.

The British government offers travel advice by region on this website: Some of the nations listed have been placed on the advisory list due to natural disasters sustained by the local communities; other warnings are based on health risks and further warnings have to do with terrorists or war. Most of the countries listed have no travel restrictions; however, in some cases, such as Afghanistan, Somalia, the Seychelles and parts of Russia, the UK makes strong recommendations against travel to the country as a whole or to specific parts of the country unless extremely necessary. The British government states, “We advise against boating/yachting activity within the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) beyond twenty miles of the granitic islands due to an increased risk of piracy.... We advise against all travel to specific regions of Russia due to the security situation in the North Caucasus, and against all but essential travel to other specific regions of Russia where kidnapping and terrorism remain a serious risk.”

The United States government also offers travel advisories to its citizens. Its website states that the counties placed on the advisory list are there due to "long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable,” causing the government to recommend that Americans avoid or, at least, consider the risk of travel to these nations. Also, travel warnings are issued if the government has closed an embassy or consulate in a particular nation. Some of the counties on the list include Mexico, The People’s Democratic Republic of Korea, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza; Haiti was placed on the list after the earthquake; however, an advisory remains. The full list can be found here:

Australian travel advisories can be found here:

New Zealand travel advisories can be found here:

French travel information can be found here: