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Pirate Information

Pirates

Although we live in the 21st century, pirates on the high-seas are still very prevalent.  They are no longer dressed as we remember them from the movies.  The flamboyant clothing and the eye patch has been replaced with t-shirts, jeans and a ball cap.  The sword is now a shotgun, an AK-47 or a Mack 10 machine pistol.  The cannons are now a .20 calibre machine gun mounted on the bow.  Today's pirate ship is a high-speed cigar boat with no markings or an innocent looking fishing trawler.  The modern pirate has direction-finding equipment to find their victims while they chat on the VHF radio, radar to pinpoint and follow them and the element of surprise.

But one thing is still the same.  They will board and loot your boat for money, jewellery, equipment and anything else of value.  They have been known to set their victims adrift in the dinghy and scuttle the boat....or worse!

Concerned?  You should be!

Prepared?  You better be!

The following links will provide you with information about recent pirate activity, guidelines of how to protect yourself and your crew and a whole lot more.  You really should take the time to look at these pages.



DANGER AREA MAP - Venezuelan Coast (Spanish)
Click here

Recent Pirate Incidents

** The route between Panama and the Galapagos Islands continues to be dangerous.  Since April 2004, there have been three (3) reports of pirate activity.  In one of these incidents, the vessel was boarded and the people tied-up while their vessel was ransacked and property stolen.

There would appear to be an organized gang operating in that area and extreme caution should be exercised when travelling that route.  There is safety in numbers and a small flotilla of boats should be considered.  The use of proximity / anti-collision radar is encouraged.  This will give you an early warning of approaching ships.  Stay alert and have your head on a swivel!!

Here are the incidents that have been reported for the Panama / Galapagos route:
April 5, 2004 - SV Yume Maru
July 14, 2004 - SV Sandpiper
February 11, 2005 - SV Chardonnay

There have also been some other strange encounters along the Panama - Galapagos route.  Read them here.

** There has also been a long standing piracy situation at the entrance to the Red Sea / Gulf of Aden area. Likewise, travelling in a flotilla would be the safest way to go.  But, as stated by local Yemeni officials, the area is out-of-control.  So, what is safe?  Below is a recent report from two vessels that were attacked in the area in March 2005.

Violent Attack on Two Yachts - SV Mahdi & SV Gandolf
Follow-up Report from SV Mahdi on April 25, 2005

** The coast of Somalia has always been trouble.  Standard practise is to stay out at least 100 miles and maintain radio silence when passing through this area.  Here's a small story about a commercial vessel that was assisted by the US Navy during an attack.

** In June 2005, a vessel was attacked and boarded by armed pirates of the coast of Jamaica.  Read about it here.

** TRINIDAD: Sailing Vessel (VESLA) was boarded and robbed 17 Aug 06 between 0230 and 0300 Local Time while at anchor in front of Peake Yacht Services, Chaguaramas Bay.  According to the report, an aluminum dinghy coming from Fisherman's Village near Cruise Inn, came alongside the Norwegian yacht asking for a drink and cigarettes.  Suddenly one of the men came aboard and produced a gun.  The (VESLA) was robbed of computers, money, credit cards, cigarettes, alcohol, and so on.  The robbers then destroyed the inflatable, sank the outboard and took off in a westerly direction toward open water (www.noonsite.com).

** VENEZUELA: Stolen engines taken from Guayaguayare fishermen on 08 Aug 06 were recovered by Venezuelan military officers in the coastal town of Perdanales.  Police have identified three of the thieves who raided the fishing depot near the Guayaguayare seawall in the pre-dawn incident.  The thieves are said to be part of an organized gang operating around Trinidad, stealing high-powered engines to sell on the black market.

** SAINT LUCIA: Yacht boarded, crew assaulted and robbed 18 Jun 06 while moored outside Rodney Bay Marina (reported 02 Aug).  Perpetrators swam from shore to the yacht.  The male crewmember was severely beaten and the female crewmember was raped.  Perpetrators attempted to swim back to shore with a laptop and Camera, but discarded them into the water after the items got wet.  Reportedly, three men are under arrest and have confessed to the crime.

** PERU: Bulk carrier was boarded and robbed 11 Aug 06 at 1910 local time while anchored in Callao anchorage No. 12.  The bosun's store was forced open.  C/O raised alarm and alerted crew.  Robbers escaped in their boat empty handed.  Port authorities were informed.


Websites With Piracy Information and Tips

Noonsite.com Piracy Information
This site seems rather comprehensive and lists recent attacks on the right margin

Caribbean Cruising Association
This site contains a listing of reported pirate incidents by area and by individual island.  The information is relatively current.

The International Chamber Of Commerce Crime Services
This is a weekly updated page of recent pirate attacks, modus operadi and caution area.  There is also a link at the bottom of the page that you can use to report a recent pirate occurrence if it is not already on the page.

Yacht Piracy - Information Center For Bluewater Sailors
This page is informative about precautions to take, areas to avoid and a lot more.

Lock it or Lost it!!

...more sites to follow.