DATE:2019-04-11 17:42 Country Name: Nicaragua Location Detail: Edinburgh channel, Nicaraguan banks EVENT:Piracy


CSSN First Hand Report
CSSN First Hand Report

DATE: 2019-04-11 17:42
Country Name: Nicaragua
Location Detail: Edinburgh channel, Nicaraguan banks
EVENT: Piracy
Stolen Items: everything from deck, 12 scuba tanks, RIB dinghy, liferaft , all dive gear, stern anchor , all navigation electronics +
SECURED: Not Locked

A Canadian flagged yacht with 4 persons onboard departed Roatan, Honduras for Isla Providencia, Colombia. At 1742 HRS, at a position of 14-50N, 82-47W, approximately 23 miles ESE of Cabo Gracias a Dios, they were approached by 2 local fishing boats (pangas) with about 10-12 men. Initially they asked for food and drink, which the crew provided. The 2 pangas drifted back a bit and were seen making calls on handheld VHF radios. Two (2) additional pangas then arrived, and all 4 (now 20-25 men in total) surrounded the yacht, and began ramming the yacht, damaging the stern ladder and swim platform, damaging the hull on both sides, and then began boarding the yacht.

The crew had begun MAYDAY calls on VHF and retreated and secured themselves safely below, protected by interior security bars that covered all hatches and companionways. Mayhem ensued topsides, as the pirates ransacked and destroyed sails, halyards, cushions, etc. The pirates used fishing knives and the yacht’s heavy winch handles to smash all port lights, the pilothouse windows, and the plexiglass hatch (which they then discovered was protected by interior security bars). The pirates proceeded to steal all electronic and navigation equipment, scuba tanks, scuba gear, the yachts RIB dinghy, liferaft and various other items.

The crew continued with VHF MAYDAY calls (no response) and activated DSC (no response). They activated the SOS function on their inReach satellite communicator and received prompt text replies, indicating the Nicaraguan Navy had been informed of the situation, but could not give a time of arrival on the scene. After about 40 minutes the pirates had seemingly exhausted themselves, and stolen, discarded overboard or destroyed almost everything within reach of the topsides.

The 4 pangas departed back toward the Nicaraguan coast. The yacht proceeded under power and set course directly away from the coast, to Providencia, and arrived there the next afternoon having had no contact from the Nicaraguan Navy. Reports were made to the Colombian Port Captain and Coast Guard. Some repairs were effected and the yacht will soon continue on to Panama, where further repairs will be made and a report will be made to Canadian consular officials.

This event differed in some respects from prior small boat piracy events in the region. Please review the CSSN Central America regional Piracy Zoom-Tap, Know&Go interactive infographic for complete information on those events, and review the CSSN region specific Piracy Precautions – Central America page. A well thought out and executed plan protected this crew from physical harm.

Additional details and insights provided by the captain are available here, on Noonsite, a longtime CSSN partner.