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Old 18-09-2012, 15:20   #1
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Piracy in Caribbean

Where is the best place to go to get information regarding current and forecast piracy activity in the Caribbean?

What destinations/routes are more dangerous than others?

What tactics are best to first avoid or then deal with on water criminal activity?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
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Old 18-09-2012, 15:36   #2
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

I think you'll find what you're looking for in the Noonsite piracy web page.
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Old 18-09-2012, 16:56   #3
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Any Particular Area

The "Caribbean" is a huge area.
Is there a certain area(s) that You plan to sail/visit?

Recently, there have been incidents of piracy off Honduras but attacks (assaults, etc) at anchor & criminal activity (robbery, stolen gear, etc) have hit more than a few areas - one in Panama drew lots of attention not too long ago.

Here's another link - Caribbean Safety & Security Net which relies on reports primarily from victims or witnesses - certainly helpful for trends but would not rely as all inclusive
Welcome to the Caribbean Safety and Security Net
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Old 18-09-2012, 18:18   #4
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

This is a Yahoo Group specifically for the Caribbean Cruisers

Cruisers_Network_Online : Cruisers Network Online
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Old 18-09-2012, 18:29   #5
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

From what I have read, these piracy incidents have only happened to boats that are traveling alone. I would think that some security could be had if you buddy up or better yet, have a small fleet to tavel with when in higher risk areas. I know, may not be doable all the time but just a thought.
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Old 18-09-2012, 18:42   #6
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

Here in the NW Carib:

A number of events in Honduras over the past couple of seasons. Some in normally tranquilo places. Most I think are posted on noonsite.

East coast of Nicaragua is a very isolated area and there have been security issues there in the past and one just this past season.

Belize had is first violent attack ever, to my knowledge, on a charter boat in 2012. No other incidents since.

Guatemala. Rio Dulce had a wave of problems this past year. These tend to flare up every few years and then go away for a while.
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Old 18-09-2012, 18:50   #7
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
From what I have read, these piracy incidents have only happened to boats that are traveling alone. I would think that some security could be had if you buddy up or better yet, have a small fleet to tavel with when in higher risk areas. I know, may not be doable all the time but just a thought.

Probably mostly true, but one happened this past season in a popular anchorage in Bocas del Toro, Panama. This sort of problem is quite unusual in Bocas. We cruised there for almost a month just prior to this event.

We also had an event here on the Rio a few years back, where 4 boats sailed and anchored in company near El Estor (not a location I would recommend anyway). One of the boats had been there solo the week before with no problems, but apparently 4 boats all at once was just too much temptation .... and they all had their dinghy motors stolen at night!


Also, in general, I don't like the term "Piracy" for many of these events. In most cases they are not true organized "piracy" but just some punks causing trouble.
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Old 18-09-2012, 18:59   #8
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

I don't think that you can call getting your dinghy motor stolen , Piracy. To me that is common theft. When I think of Piracy, I am thinking of someone or a group comming aboard and threating my safety.
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Old 18-09-2012, 19:51   #9
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

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I don't think that you can call getting your dinghy motor stolen , Piracy. To me that is common theft. When I think of Piracy, I am thinking of someone or a group comming aboard and threating my safety.
From a practical perspective I agree that violence is the primary concern, but technically "theft" is considered "piracy" per IMB's definition below. There are however a variety of international and country specific legal definitions of "piracy".

Quote:
From IMB "...the act of boarding any vessel with an intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act..."
The examples I gave were in illustration of exceptions to the "saftey in numbers" theory. Not necessarily, what I would personally consider acts of "piracy". The event in Bocas was violent and I think meets any definition of "piracy" (see Noonsite: Panama, Bocas del Toro: American Couple Brutally Assaulted And Robbed On Their Sailboat Near Isla Colon).

Personally, I don't like to call most of these non-violent events "piracy" either because I think it over dramatizes them. In most cases, it is indeed just petty theft which just happens to occur on the water.
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Old 18-09-2012, 20:09   #10
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

Belizesailor, thanks for all of that information and the link to the Panama story, very informitive for me. It sounds like a couple of thugs that will likely be delt with locally, but still, very real reason to be concerned.

When this area stops getting tourist money because of an act like this and everyone suffers, I suspect the persons responcible will be delt with if they are captured. Maybe there fear of being caught was reailized and henze the reason the dinghy was left floating in the harbor.
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Old 18-09-2012, 20:15   #11
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Venezuela & their islands used to be a popular destination and/or stopping off point however more than a few violent incidents have many(if not most) people now avoiding & giving their waters a wide berth

dshawkins - Again, if you list your intended sailing area(s) - You will be able to get more specific info
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Old 19-09-2012, 04:51   #12
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, dshawkins.
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Old 19-09-2012, 08:06   #13
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

Thank you to everyone that responded. The links that were provided were excellent. I know of boaters that have sailed in the middle east and off the west coast of Africa who used a service that provides armed security boats as escorts. I have never heard of that type of service in the Caribbean and that might be because the need does not exist. It sounds like the threat of a forced boarding at sea is low and most of the crime occurs inside territorial waters?
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Old 19-09-2012, 09:15   #14
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman View Post
Belizesailor, thanks for all of that information and the link to the Panama story, very informitive for me. It sounds like a couple of thugs that will likely be delt with locally, but still, very real reason to be concerned.

When this area stops getting tourist money because of an act like this and everyone suffers, I suspect the persons responcible will be delt with if they are captured. Maybe there fear of being caught was reailized and henze the reason the dinghy was left floating in the harbor.
I've heard there were arrests made in the Bocas incident, but don't know current details.

This event was very unusual for the Bocas area. I've never heard of a cruising boat being attacked there before. So, I don't expect it will have a big impact on cruisers/tourist revenue. We like Bocas a lot and will definitely be back next season, but be a bit more security conscious.

It is not uncommon to find inflatables abandoned after a theft. They really only want the motor. It is often just quicker and easier to take the whole dink first. As a result, it is not uncommon to find dinks here in the NW carib with no motor.

There has definitely been a rise in security incidents here in the NW Carib in recent years. My hypothesis is that this is tied to both the "war on drugs" and the financial crisis in the USA. The financial crisis in the USA resulted in many Central Americans returning to their home countries because the jobs dried up in the USA. The escalation of the "war on drugs" has I expect also pushed many out of that profession. Given that the drug trade is quite violent, I suspect that this has contributed to increasing violent attacks on cruisers by pushing more violent types into other "occupations" ... like robbing gringos. Many CA countries have also been increasing their anti-gang activities which I expect contributes also.
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Old 19-09-2012, 10:14   #15
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Re: Piracy in Caribbean

As with most things in life, attempts to solve one problem often creates other problems. The financial crisis of the world has created real problems everywhere. I think that as this crisis continues we are all going to have to be more watchful, aware, and considerate of others. I would also expect that incidents of crime on boats is happening more frequently everywhere, even in US waters, but just isn't being reported globally.
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