Recently CSSN published a report of vandalism against a visiting yacht who reported their mooring line had been cut overnight. The report can be read here.
CSSN has been in contact with Lesroy Noel, the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) Manager, who is responsible for the moorings in Clifton harbour. He helpfully explained the system that has been put in place for visiting yachts and we are glad to share that information here, anticipating that informing cruisers prior to arrival and setting the right expectations will improve communications and user satisfaction.
Currently the TCMP is the only authorized provider of temporary/overnight moorings in Clifton harbor. Their 19 moorings are all marked by plain white balls. Six authorized assistants (“boatboys”) have been selected and authorized to act as agents for TCMP and each of them has personalized boat cards that identify them by name and include the TCMP logo. Captains can choose any available assistant, any open mooring and utilize these assistants in getting tied up if they desire. Anchoring is also an option, and is free.
The fee for TCMP mooring usage is $60ECD for 24 hours. Actual payment for a TCMP mooring should only be made to a uniformed TCMP ranger who will visit the yacht and also collect the card. $20ECD of each $60ECD daily fee is then paid by TCMP to the assistant specified on the collected card. The TCMP welcomes feedback from users about their moorings and the performance of their authorized assistants. You can visit the TCMP office ashore M-F from 8-4, they also collect cards and accept payment.
At times, private moorings in the anchorage may be available and offered on a freelance basis by the designated assistants, or others. No oversight or control over this sort of entrepreneurial activity is provided by TCMP, and none of any fees paid remits to TCMP.
Previously CSSN published a preliminary 2nd hand report (#2011) about a serious assault that occurred in Portobello, Panama on March 26, 2023. The victims have provided a full update and the original report now includes important additional information :
At 0015HRS on their second night in the bay, the three crew onboard an anchored monohull were boarded and assaulted by 2 masked/hooded men, one armed with a gun. They awoke to their dog barking as the men entered through the unlocked companionway. A vigorous fight ensued in both the salon and cockpit as the crew attempted to defend themselves with their fists and a winch handle. Two times the masked gunman attempted to discharge his semiautomatic handgun at the crew, but it failed to fire. The two ejected cartridges were recovered later, and showed no dents in the casings.
The 2 assailants abandoned the fight and departed when they realized they were outnumbered and unable to successfully fire their semiautomatic handgun. They had been onboard for about 5 minutes. They jumped into the water, leaving behind the kayak they had stolen earlier from another yacht. The bloodied crew was badly shaken and made multiple calls for help on VHF16, but there was no response. They sounded a loud alarm and began yelling from the deck, but no one anchored or ashore made any response to their calls for help. Phone calls to the police went unanswered. They treated their injuries and waited for daylight.
Later that day a police report was made with assistance ashore from a local business. The crew learned from the police that their website information was incorrect and had not been updated. The yacht departed to Linton Bay where their yacht was searched the next morning by the police with assistance from Aeronaval. No forensics were collected. That night at 2230HRs a large contingent of officers returned with a court order and again searched the victims yacht very thoroughly for several hours. Again, no forensics were collected.
A report was made to the captain’s home country consulate, and the victims departed Panama.
You can review the complete and fully updated report here.
Preparing to transit the Panama canal eastbound, a cruising monohull with 4 persons onboard anchored in Las Perlas at about 1100HRS. No other boats were nearby. Just after dark at about 1930HRS four young Spanish speaking men armed with guns and machetes boarded from a quiet (paddled) but motorized panga. One crew member took the handheld VHF and locked themselves into the head, and activated DSC. The door was immediately broken down, the radio silenced and taken from the crew. One crew member was hit over the head and back with a pistol and all were made to lie on the floor at gunpoint while the yacht was aggressively ransacked. Much damage was done to the yachts interior cabinets, doors, and drawers. The cables to the radios and autopilot display were cut.
The thieves were onboard for approximately 1.5 hours and stole cash, wallets, electronics, phones, jewelry, foul weather gear, lifejackets, clothing, alcohol and fuel jugs containing gasoline. A full inventory has not been completed.
The dog was missing and presumed to have been pushed overboard or taken. After searching unsuccessfully for the dog for about 20 minutes and confirming the yacht was safely operable, they departed for Panama City. On arrival a crew member was taken for medical care and a report was made to Aeronaval. No forensics were taken at that time.
The US consulate was advised of this event and a full report is planned.
This is the second cruising yacht boarded/assaulted in Las Perlas recently. See the prior incident here.
UPDATE 4/1/2023 : Aeronaval has located the missing dog, Stella, found on the island of Mina. She will be reunited with the victims/owners. The investigation continues.
CSSN News – February 27, 2023 – Union Island, SVG – Hazard to navigation
A yacht owner has reported that things did not go as planned during their arrival to Clifton Harbor, Union Island, SVG. While their monohull was being guided to a mooring by a local boat their prop became entangled in a large floating rope from what was later found to be a disused mooring. The yacht’s engine stopped. Several local boats helped the yacht avoid collision with a nearby boat, and cut away the entangled 2 inch rope. Eventually the yacht was safely secured to a mooring. The captain negotiated and agreed a large a payment that was shared with much debate among the aggressive local helpers.
The next day the captain witnessed 2 other boats being guided over the same rope, and yelled a warning to the captains. The hazard was avoided. The original captain decided to attach a coke bottle to better mark the hazard.
A third boat was guided toward the rope/coke bottle, even though it appeared that the boat boy had seen it. Again the captain made the latest arrival aware of the hazard, and it was avoided.
Please be aware that marked/unmarked hazards may exist in the Clifton harbor mooring field and be certain to carefully observe your approach even as helpers/boat boys guide you to a mooring.
CSSN has agreed to a request by the victims to REMOVE their submitted firsthand report (never published), and as a consequence our previously published PRELIMINARY 2nd hand report CSSN ALERT! 2991, Robbery -West End Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras.
CSSN ALERT! 2889, Theft (same location) has been UPDATED to correct details (date, police report made) and newly reflect its firsthand status. Originally, these 2 secondhand reports were not known to be related.
Because of the serious nature of some reports, an overriding concern for the immediate safety of the cruising community may at times necessitate PRELIMINARY reports. We strive to make our reports as complete, accurate and timely as possible, and can only do so with the help of victims and the community. The all volunteer CSSN team appreciates the patience and understanding of the cruising community as incidents are submitted and then vetted/finalized.
CSSN wants to remind everyone of the importance of timely firsthand reports, and also thank those who made good faith secondhand reports. We have made reporting easy, with a quick/easy online form. Every report we receive is acknowledged (usually by email). If you are a victim, make a timely report. If you encounter a victim, encourage and support a firsthand report – we have a shared responsibility to keep our community well informed.