CSSN News  Bad things do happen, and what each of us can do to minimize risk – June 8, 2019

CSSN News
CSSN NEWS

Thankfully, relatively few violent and serious incidents were experienced by yachts in the Caribbean basin and reported to CSSN in 2018. Although it is not yet midyear, 2019 is looking quite different and more typical.  Year-to-date Panama has had 2 armed boardings plus 1 attempted, with injuries to crew and the most recent case resulted in the tragic death of the captain.   While Panamanian police were quick to arrest and charge 3 individuals in the latest case, little confirmed information about what occurred has been made public, and no arrests were made in the 2 earlier cases. Yachts transiting Nicaragua and the Trinidad/Grenada passage have also experienced serious piracy/piracy attempts.

Each of these low probability but high impact events left many wondering what could be done to prevent them, or avoid/minimize the risk of a repeat, or simply achieve a better outcome.  The short answer – have a well thought out and agreed to plan that everyone on board understands and is prepared to implement. Being prepared and early warning and communications are key, and all benefit from a fact based understanding of what has happened in the past.  Utilize CSSN resources to first understand the specifics that are known about previous events, and consider then how to apply your own risk profile, tolerance and crew/yacht capabilities.

CSSN has compiled Precautions lists from many experienced cruisers, often victims themselves.  These resources are organized into 3 major groups: General Precautions, for use everywhere at anchor or ashore, Piracy Precautions specific to Central America (2 different types), and Piracy Precautions specific to the Trinidad/Grenada passage. Much of the information presented in each of these piracy protocols can be applied anywhere. All have been recently updated with important new information.

The updates for the Trinidad/Grenada passage reflect the leadership and teamwork between stakeholders and officials in Trinidad who stepped up immediately to the recent problem there and have put escorted convoys in place to manage and mitigate risk for this relatively short passage.  Links and Information about this new and valuable process are included in our update.

For remote or offshore areas, hard decisions must be made about routing and about response – acceptance of risk/loss of possessions made, and/or hardened security including impenetrable cabins.  No plan is perfect, but every captain/crew should carefully consider a range of possible responses.  The best predictor of a best possible outcome is having a well thought out, agreed upon, and then executed plan among the entire crew. CSSN’s suite of Precaution resources are provided as a tool for use by the community.

As always, we welcome your feedback. With your input CSSN informs, captains decide. Know Before You Go !

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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
HAND: 1
Stolen Items: everything from deck, 12 scuba tanks, RIB dinghy, liferaft , all dive gear, stern anchor , all navigation electronics +
SECURED: Not Locked
DETAILS: 

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.

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CSSN News – September 24, 2017 Armed Boardings and Piracy reported off Dominica – UPDATED

CSSN Update!
CSSN UPDATE!

Please see the original News Item Below – then scroll down to the update.

The original News Item has been updated and can be accessed here.


CSSN News
CSSN NEWS

CSSN News – September 24, 2017 Armed Boardings and Piracy reported off Dominica – UPDATED

Several sources in social media have reported that boats bringing relief supplies to hurricane ravaged Dominica have been boarded and robbed offshore by armed men in pirogues.
The situation in Dominica is evolving, and will be for some time. Without basic communications and no apparent command structure or coordination of emergency relief efforts in place, visiting, or even transiting in sight of Dominica by yacht should be very carefully considered. Unless you are expected and arrive under prearranged escort your efforts may create more chaos and endanger your vessel and crew.

Various groups experienced in relief efforts are beginning to lend much needed support, and there will be many opportunities to support Dominica and its people once these efforts take visible effect.

CSSN Update!
CSSN UPDATE!
UPDATE: December 4, 2017

This News item when published clearly identified the nature of its source as social media. Because of the serious nature of the initial social media posts, the intent of the CSSN news item was to inform those considering visiting Dominica in the immediate aftermath of Maria to consider the decision carefully until it was clear that reasonable order prevailed there. At the time, the 2 principle sources who posted in social media were believed to be reliable and credible, both having previously demonstrated significant support for the people of Dominica and economic interests there.

Recently, commercial and governmental interests in Dominica have challenged the accuracy of the initial reports in social media. Specifically, they assert that NO piracy acts occurred. Subsequently, the original sources have deleted their posts from social media.

CSSN cannot factually ascertain the accuracy of claims made by any of the disputing parties. Consequently, CSSN as a matter of policy wants our readership to understand our obligation to inform our readers about this change in circumstance.

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DATE: 2017-10-28 12:00 Country Name: Honduras Location Detail: disputed waters off Honduras/Nicaragua border EVENT: Piracy

 

CSSN First Hand Report
CSSN First Hand Report

Security Matters - Caribbean Safety and Security Net

DATE: 2017-10-28 12:00
Country Name: Honduras
Location Detail: disputed waters off Honduras/Nicaragua border
EVENT: Piracy
HAND: 1
Stolen Items: cash, phone, GPS, computer, dive gear, fishing gear, food, medicine, rum and many small items
SECURED: Not Locked
DETAILS:  A single hander departed Livingston, Guatemala for Isla de Providencia, Colombia. At noon, when about 35 miles offshore of the Honduras/Nicaragua border he was boarded while motoring by 20 men in 3 pirogues.

The pirates did NOT display any weapons, but simply overran the yacht. The captain did not resist in any way. The pirates ransacked the yacht for about an hour. They “took everything”, cash, phone, GPS, computer, dive gear, fishing gear, food, medicine, rum and many small items. The captain was able to negotiate with the leaders and was allowed to keep a navigational computer and a small GPS, as well as some jerry jugs of diesel. The pirates asked for drugs (there were none) before finally departing.

There were no injuries. The captain describes that damage to the yacht was out of ignorance, not malice. A report was made to Colombian officials in Providencia on arrival.

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CSSN News – September 24, 2017 Armed Boardings and Piracy reported off Dominica

CSSN News
CSSN NEWS

CSSN News – September 24, 2017 Armed Boardings and Piracy reported off Dominica – UPDATED

Several sources in social media have reported that boats bringing relief supplies to hurricane ravaged Dominica have been boarded and robbed offshore by armed men in pirogues.

The situation in Dominica is evolving, and will be for some time. Without basic communications and no apparent command structure or coordination of emergency relief efforts in place, visiting, or even transiting in sight of Dominica by yacht should be very carefully considered. Unless you are expected and arrive under prearranged escort your efforts may create more chaos and endanger your vessel and crew.

Various groups experienced in relief efforts are beginning to lend much needed support, and there will be many opportunities to support Dominica and its people once these efforts take visible effect.

CSSN Update!
CSSN UPDATE!
UPDATE: December 4, 2017

This News item when published clearly identified the nature of its source as social media. Because of the serious nature of the initial social media posts, the intent of the CSSN news item was to inform those considering visiting Dominica in the immediate aftermath of Maria to consider the decision carefully until it was clear that reasonable order prevailed there. At the time, the 2 principle sources who posted in social media were believed to be reliable and credible, both having previously demonstrated significant support for the people of Dominica and economic interests there.

Recently, commercial and governmental interests in Dominica have challenged the accuracy of the initial reports in social media. Specifically, they assert that NO piracy acts occurred. Subsequently, the original sources have deleted their posts from social media.

CSSN cannot factually ascertain the accuracy of claims made by any of the disputing parties. Consequently, CSSN as a matter of policy wants our readership to understand our obligation to inform our readers about this change in circumstance.

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