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Honduras: Sailing Boat Boarded and Robbed by Pirates-gctid392594

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    Honduras: Sailing Boat Boarded and Robbed by Pirates-gctid392594

    What would you do if this happened to you? Carrying firearms by the victims is usually not an option because they cannot be declared at non-US ports.

    http://www.noonsite.com/Members/val/R2012-06-07-1

    Honduras: Sailing Boat Boarded and Robbed by Pirates

    Created by val. Last modified on 2012-06-08 11:03:06

    Contributors:

    Topic: Piracy Reports 2012

    Countries: Honduras

    Our thanks to Michael Feldman for sending us a copy of his letter to the Ambassador, and our best wishes to both him and his wife for their recovery from this trauma.

    The Honorable Lisa Kubiske

    United State Ambassador to Honduras

    Tegucigalpa

    Dear Ambassador Kubiske

    On Saturday morning, June 2nd at approximately 8:30 AM, my sailing vessel, US flagged Southern Star, registered in Delaware, DL8764AB, was intercepted and boarded by 2 young men, who threatened us with a large pistol and took off money, jewelry and equipment with a value in excess of $11,000, US.

    Bound for Utila, having spent the evening in Puerto Cortes, we took the direct line which brings one close to the coast, approximately 3 miles north off Punta Sal, approximately half way between our starting point and our destination of Utila.

    The two young men were in a twenty-foot launcha, my wife was at the helm and I was below, resting when I heard some commotion and found my wife trying to convince the two young men to stay away as they were asking for some gasoline. Then the older of the two, an extremely handsome young man, almost beautiful displayed the large caliber pistol and we reverted to our " New York smarts," trying to be as calm as possible and to express no resistance to our captives.

    I was ordered to sit where the younger of the two, threatened me with a machete while my wife with a gun to her head was ordered to produce "moony, moony."

    He went up and down several times taking US cash, a large roll of Honduran notes, 2 backpacks; one containing my wife's jewelry a computer, cell phone, bankbook and 2 cameras. Returning to the deck, he took our rolled up dinghy and starting yelling: "mooter, mooter." We tried to explain to him that the strange looking device on our stern was the motor (a Torquudo electric) and he wound up taking 2 of the 3 pieces.

    The last portion was the strangest, like robbing Santa's gift bag, he pulled out anything he saw and threw it in the launcha: a pair of West Marine flip-flops, a blue 5 gallon water jug, fishing gear, oars, kayak paddles. All into his launcha.

    Then with a final instruction to start our engine and they motored speedily away in the direction of Puerto Escondito.

    During the entire event, my wife was physically held from behind with a firearm pressed against her neck and threatened with death if cooperation was not complete nor expedient. They even made us take our wedding and engagement rings off our fingers.

    At the conclusion of this event, which if I am not mistake, is the classic definition of privacy,(piracy Ed.) we called for assistance from the Honduran Coast Guard via channel 16. I understand that the US Coast Guard also monitors this channel as well, but they never answered our call.

    We were instructed by what we think was Puerto Cortes harbor control to proceed back to that port and 4 hours later were greeted there by immigration, police and the civil maritime officials, the latter taking the lead in questioning us. They were extraordinarily polite and helpful especially agent Ricardo Hernandez of the Port Capitan's office who drove us around to the various authorities as we were checked in and out of the country and spent the afternoon assisting the police and translating for us with regard their report. It was made clear that there is no police presence anywhere near the crime scene nor in the adjacent village and that there would likely be no investigation. We anchored in our familiar spot, near the Navy pier and left early the next morning, returning to our base in Rio Dulce Guatemala. There would be no more sailing for us this season.

    Conclusions.


    1. I have great concern that the ease with which we were overcome, the munificent haul and the anticipated subsequent lack of pressure from the authorities will encourage additional such activity by this group or copycats. If a bunch of kids with a big firearm can bring thousands of dollars of booty without the least chance of apprehension, then this coast has the potential for further mayhem and violence.
    2. Although there was no violence with regard this incident, an important reason for that was our immediate "Stockholm" approach. Not every boater will take that tact.
    3. The police in Puerto Cortes appear to be under-funded ill-equipped and completely ill-suited to do anything more than to complete a report with regard the incident, and even that was a trial. No computers, no knowledge of the area where the incident occurred, I was lead to believe perhaps no roads, though less than 30 miles away.
    4. This is the same general area where a Canadian sailor was killed last year. It now must be regarded as of dubious safety.
    5. And yet, Roatan/ Utila/ Rio Dolce is a main pathway for craft returning to Rio Dulce for hurricane season. It would be prudent that mariners be warned.




    Very sincerely

    Michael S. Feldman

    SV Southern Star

    Catamaran Marina, Rio Dulce Guatemala and New York, NY

    #2
    I have heard stories from good sources about Honduras, and other Central American, coastal pirates.

    It is not impossible to have firearms. You just have to lock them up when in port. There is a way.

    In the states, many boaters carry firearms. However, its doubtful that the have the training to be able to react in a situation like that.

    Since the "victims" were not physiclly harmed, they did everything right. Some of the other pirate boardings have ended the other way...

    In a navigation class I was teaching, one of my students tells of how he brought a 22' open boat down to Honduras, and rented a building with a dock, to start a dive trip business. He had 2 locals ready to work for him. He came back to here for a week, and back to Honduras to find the boat missing. He went to the local police station and reported it. The "chief" said: "Senior, for $7000 we can get your boat back." He told him to keep it, notified the 2 locals which he was going to hire, and left the country for good.

    Thats what you are up against in those countries. You are the "rich American" and have everything, so whatever they can steal from you is fair, right???
    Captharv 2001 2452
    "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"

    Comment


      #3
      If you're a sheep and go where there are wolves, expect to be taken advantage of.

      Some weird English is being used. Doesn't sound like the guy is American.

      Comment


        #4
        green650 wrote:
        If you're a sheep and go where there are wolves, expect to be taken advantage of.

        Some weird English is being used. Doesn't sound like the guy is American.
        Maybe he's just a lawyer! :kidding

        The original author does list Guatemala and NY as home ports.

        Comment


          #5
          There may have not been any physical harm in this incident, but it is menacing at best, and I think of it as a violent act. The crew was completely at the mercy of the criminals that robbed them - something to be avoided at all costs. It seems to me that a cruising boat needs some sort of defence.

          Comment


            #6
            For me, the first thought would be to try and avoid being placed in a vulnerable situation in a known dangerous region. Second, simply having weapons on board may make things worse. You and your crew would need serious training; which can be obtained of course.

            Comment


              #7
              Has anyone heard of any form of piracy on the great lakes or just unwanted boarders?

              Comment


                #8
                iceclimber wrote:
                For me, the first thought would be to try and avoid being placed in a vulnerable situation in a known dangerous region. Second, simply having weapons on board may make things worse. You and your crew would need serious training; which can be obtained of course.
                Can't get much worst than having someone hold a gun to your wife's head! Steel hulled boat. An accurate rifle. A shot fired in the direction of those particular pirates would have sent them scurrying, most probably. Of course, if they come determined with rifles or automatic guns you've got to decide if you are all in, or if you are just going to put yourself at their mercy. So I would agree, to try to avoid being in a vulnerable situation. A sailboat with a cruising couple on board is pretty vulnerable.

                Comment


                  #9
                  People like that should stay in American waters if they are going to complain when they get bullied.

                  Third world country = lawlessness.

                  I've been down there and always kept my trusty M4 on 24/7.

                  American consulate isn't going to do sh*t for you, well, except maybe write a little note for you to let you come back to the U.S. if your passport gets lost/stolen.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    wildman wrote:
                    Can't get much worst than having someone hold a gun to your wife's head! Steel hulled boat. An accurate rifle. A shot fired in the direction of those particular pirates would have sent them scurrying, most probably. Of course, if they come determined with rifles or automatic guns you've got to decide if you are all in, or if you are just going to put yourself at their mercy. So I would agree, to try to avoid being in a vulnerable situation. A sailboat with a cruising couple on board is pretty vulnerable.
                    Unfortunately, yes.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      green650 wrote:
                      People like that should stay in American waters if they are going to complain when they get bullied.

                      Third world country = lawlessness.

                      I've been down there and always kept my trusty M4 on 24/7.

                      American consulate isn't going to do sh*t for you, well, except maybe write a little note for you to let you come back to the U.S. if your passport gets lost/stolen.
                      Whoa, are you saying that these peole were just whining cuz they were 'bullied'? I'd say that it goes well beyond that! Like 'assaulted, threatened and robbed'

                      Comment


                        #12
                        reasons why I am always armed, home, car, boat, doesnt matter.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          biohazard wrote:
                          reasons why I am always armed, home, car, boat, doesnt matter.
                          Amen to that! I have my Kimber 45 with me at all times!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            In many of these areas, carrying a firearm is not an option. They don't recognize concealed weapons permits or the 2nd amendment. If you declare a firearm or are found to be in possession of one in any number of Latin American countries when you dock at customs, your weapons will be confiscated and you can face criminal charges.

                            There must be an alternative means of arming onself and being on a level playing field with those who wish you harm. Lasers? Caustic chemicals?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              LazyCrusr wrote:
                              Whoa, are you saying that these peole were just whining cuz they were 'bullied'? I'd say that it goes well beyond that! Like 'assaulted, threatened and robbed'
                              That should be expected in a 3rd world country. If you expect it, and are prepared, there won't be any surprises.

                              Comment

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