CSSN UPDATE 02/02/2019 : This report has been updated to reflect its new firsthand status. Additionally, the victims reported this incident shortly after it occurred to their consular officials in Panama. They have had followup contact with the police in Panama. However, there have been no results in the investigation – no arrests or any recovery of the stolen items. Police did visit the yacht, but did not collect any forensic evidence.
DATE: 2019-01-13 21:30 Country Name: Panama Location Detail: Portobello EVENT: Assault HAND: 1 Stolen Items: Currency, personal electronics SECURED: Unknown DETAILS: A private yacht with 3 of 7 crew onboard was approached by 6 men armed with handguns, using the pretence of selling water at 2130 HRS. They boarded aggressively and hit one crew member in the head with a gun and then spent considerable time ransacking the boat, terrorizing the crew that was made to lay on the floor all the while the armed boarders repeatedly yelled “cocaine, cocaine”. Cash, phones, computers and electronics were taken. Jewelry was left behind, no drugs were (found) onboard.
Coincidentally, the yachts tender, with the 4 remaining crew returned to the boat, which hastened the thieves’ departure without making further direct contact. A full police report was made, to local police and Aeronaval.
CSSN NOTE: Attempts to board other yachts in the anchorage were made this same night most likely by this same group of armed thieves. One later boarding was only deterred when the owner’s large dog made its presence known on deck. (See next report) Details of some other attempts/boardings are incomplete. If you were a victim, of a boarding or attempted boarding, PLEASE contact CSSN and complete an online incident report.
DATE: 2017-12-28 10:30 Country Name: St. Lucia Location Detail: Castries EVENT: Assault HAND: 1 Stolen Items: gold chain SECURED: N/A DETAILS: A captain and his wife were shopping at the vegetable open market in Castries, St Lucia , at 10:30 AM when one male, approximately 20 years of age, assaulted the captain by striking him from behind, pushed him to the ground and then ripped a gold chain from his neck. During the assault, the captain’s wife attempted to intervene, and she was struck several times in the chest. Neither the captain nor his wife required medical attention. The assailant escaped by running away from the market. The captain tried to chase the assailant, but was unable to catch him . The victim reported that during the assault, there were approximately 50 local residents who witnessed the assault, and nobody said or did anything to stop it, or assist them after the incident. A police report was made to local authorities.
UPDATE: December 5, 2017 – The victim has contacted CSSN to advise that no arrests have been made in this matter, there have been no recoveries of the stolen items and that St Lucia police have failed to respond to email requests for further updates. CSSN will of course publish any future updates that are received and relayed to us.
DATE: 2017-10-25 01:30 Country Name: St. Lucia Location Detail: Soufriere EVENT: Assault HAND: 1 Stolen Items: Cash and mobile phones, dinghy
SECURED: Locked DETAILS: Guests onboard a chartered catamaran on an SMMA mooring in Soufriere, St. Lucia, were awakened at 0130 am when they were boarded by 4 men. 2 of the men were armed with guns, and 1 with a knife, all had their faces concealed.
Three of the men damaged a deck hatch to break into the locked yacht while the fourth cut the davit lines on the dinghy during this violent boarding. There were 6 members of the charter group, 2 families each with a teenage daughter. The women and children quickly locked themselves inside a cabin. There were many threats and a short struggle. One victim was hit in the face with a gun, the other hit on the head. The boarders demanded cash, cell phones, and passports. The cash and cellphones were surrendered readily and the passports and access to the locked cabin refused. After 20 terrifying minutes of further threats of violence and death the 4 men left with the dinghy.
Reports were made to the charter base and police. The police took NO forensic evidence and told the victims and the charter company that they did “not want any media involved as it might scare tourists”. The charter company has assisted the victims with communications and arranged for a local media outlet to film an interview, which has not been broadcast. The dinghy was abandoned ashore and later recovered.
The police have since asked for some details about the stolen cell phones by email, but have not informed the victims of any arrests in this matter. The victims describe this as a “violent, aggressive and prolonged attack that left their families traumatized” and point out that at no point during the charter briefing were they informed of any “no go” or problem areas. They were advised to use the cable and lock provided to secure the dinghy when ashore.
CSSN NOTE: As a matter of policy CSSN will publish updates if police confirm to the victims that there has been significant progress in this matter.
DATE: 2017-04-10 22:30 Country Name: Guatemala Location Detail: Bahia de Graciosa EVENT: Assault HAND: 1 Stolen Items: Yamaha 4HP – 4 stroke outboard SECURED: Not Locked DETAILS: A yacht with 2 persons onboard was anchored alone in Graciosa Bay. On the second night they were awakened by a noise around 10:30 PM. The captain went to the cockpit and discovered a man was removing his 4HP-4 Stroke outboard from the rail mount, ( it was not locked) .
A scuffle ensued, and the captain ended up in the water next to the thief’s boat. The thief had a handgun tucked into the front waistband of his pants, but did not remove it. He attempted to hold the captain’s head underwater but was unsuccessful. The captain sustained minor injuries.
After the thief departed the yacht upped anchor and moved about 5 miles to Tres Puntas where 5 other cruising boats were anchored, but none were monitoring VHF. A report was made to the police, port captian and on the NW Caribbean SSB net the next day.
DATE: 2017-03-15 20:00 Country Name: Colombia Location Detail: Isla Baru EVENT: Assault HAND: 1 Stolen Items: Safe, computer, jar of peanut butter SECURED: Not Locked DETAILS: A yacht arriving in Colombia from the San Blas islands of Panama, anchored on the south side of Baru and all crew except the captain took a car to Cartagena to complete their check-in. No other boats were nearby.
At 8 PM a dugout with outboard and 4 men came alongside and asked for a lighter. Then they quickly climbed on board, hit the captain with an oar and a gun and forced him inside the boat, where he was beaten with a machete and tied up.
They ransacked the boat and stole a computer, an entire (unopened) safe, and a jar of peanut butter, and were onboard for about 30 minutes. Injuries did not require hospital treatment, and reports were made to the police and coast guard.