DATE: 2018-04-18 09:00
Country Name: Honduras
Location Detail: 100 miles offshore Honduras/Nicaragua border 16N/81W
EVENT: Attempted piracy
Stolen Items: none, not successful
DETAILS: Two yachts departed Isla Providencia, Colombia for the Cayman Islands. They traveled northward together on a moonless night with lights and AIS. They were clear of the Gordo Banks region by about 30 miles. Feeling they were out of the piracy danger zone (see prior reports to CSSN) one of the boats raised full sail and began to pull away just before sunrise.
At 9 am the second yacht, a French flagged 51ft. monohull with a family of 5 onboard, at position 16-04.31N/81- 18.51W now more than 100 miles off the Honduran coast , sighted a fishing boat of about 10 meters overloaded with a dozen men onboard on an intersecting course. They attempted to contact their friends who were still in visual range on VHF 08, (which they had used sparingly overnight), but without success. They heard another conversation in a strange language/dialect (not Spanish/French/English) that included “barco grande, barco grande”. When they tried to call their friends on VHF 16 the channel was immediately blocked by very loud, continuous music.
The suspect pirate boat was able to pull parallel and close to 50 meters, and the occupants displayed a nervous and aggressive attitude. They were not friendly fishermen wanting to trade. No weapons were visible.
The yacht had put on all remaining sail and then attempted to add the engine, but it failed. Changing course to the SE put the pirate vessel at a disadvantage to the increasing wind and seas and the yacht was able to increase the distance separating the 2 vessels. Eventually the pirates fell back and the yacht turned northward. The yacht made contact with the French Coast Guard (Cross) by satellite phone, and the French Coast Guard maintained regular contact for the next several hours.
At 5 PM, alerted by the French CG, the Honduran navy reached the yacht by satellite phone and advised in English that they were still in danger, and that there were now 2 armed Honduran Naval vessels approaching the area but outside VHF range, who would escort the yacht back to safe port in Honduras. The yacht declined, but welcomed the presence of the Honduran Navy, and continued northward toward their planned destination.
Overnight and into the next day the French CG maintained regular satellite phone contact with the yacht, and later alerted officials in Cayman about the yachts expected arrival that evening, and their engineless status. They were met and assisted by Cayman CG/port officials to a mooring on arrival.
CSSN would like to thank the volunteer translators who so kindly assisted with this report.Follow Us Share