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Old 22-01-2014, 17:47   #166
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Re: St Lucia murder

some of you seem to be looking for a "perfect" answer, but the only one that exists is "don't go"

for everyone else the phase to think of is "reasonable reduction of risk"
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Old 22-01-2014, 17:49   #167
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
I think once they get aboard you're in trouble. The bad guys are committed. Don't think the metal grill will do much.
Just like any predator, thieves are only out looking for weak or easy targets, Contrary to the villains in Hollyweird movies and TV, they're not looking for confrontation or a shootout. Make yourself difficult and they move on.
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Old 22-01-2014, 18:02   #168
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Bluntly, is there anywhere in the Caribbean where one can live a normal relaxed life instead of bolting everything down and locking one's self in every night? I suspect that this may be a much shorter list than the no-go islands list.

There are plenty of other places in the world with clear water and coral and with decent human beings living there that it now begs the question - why even bother cruising in the Caribbean? What is the point in living in fear behind a cage, sleeping next to a can of bear spray?

Try the Bahamas. Technically not in the Caribbean but the waters are amazing and the Bahamians are friendly. They don't seem to resent the foreigners. Good sailing too.
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Old 22-01-2014, 18:03   #169
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Re: St Lucia murder

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How is an open metal grill any stronger than the heavy plexiglass hatchboards that are standard on Beneteau 393's?
If your going to make an argument please don't keep shifting it. YOU are the one that said that plexiglass was inadequate, not me. And I have no idea about the specifics of that Bene nor did I claim to.

Each of us has to decide what is considered enough when it comes to hardening. Almost anything that is locked from the inside will deter sneaks when the owner is aboard. If away then it needs to be able to resist a hammer or screwdriver or good kick. (But I doubt that Mark is intending to use the grating when away.) Beyond that it is probably hopeless - a thief willing to make noise will get through eventually - at least if he has tools (note: swimaboards rarely do). And armed robbers will also only be slowed assuming they are either confident or foolhardy. The net result is that a well hardened hatch will stop most crime - but of course not the worst of the worst. If that upsets you then stay home.

Earlier I was trying to make a point by pushing Jedi for not including Colon on his list. In fact most of the countries on his list can be visited as safely as he is in Colon - by knowing the safe(r) places and how to act. That really applies throughout the Caribbean - the risks are indeed everywhere AFAIK - but making the right choices they can be managed to an acceptable level. I could say the same thing about a lot of other places, including US cities and a lot of tourist spots in Europe (Barcelona comes to mind for pickpockets).

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Old 22-01-2014, 18:20   #170
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by CarinaPDX View Post
If your going to make an argument please don't keep shifting it. YOU are the one that said that plexiglass was inadequate, not me. And I have no idea about the specifics of that Bene nor did I claim to.



the risks are indeed everywhere AFAIK - but making the right choices they can be managed to an acceptable level. I could say the same thing about a lot of other places, including US cities and a lot of tourist spots in Europe (Barcelona comes to mind for pickpockets).

Greg
That's my point. The metal grill is no stronger than the standard plexiglass hatch boards. The weakest point is the lock which is on the slider. Sorry if I did not explain that sufficiently for you to understand. I do know the specifics of a 393.

The open metal grill allows ventilation, you need a hatch open for that to happen at anchor. The forward hatches are large enough for a person to get in.

And we are not discussing getting your pocket picked ashore or wandering around in the wrong part of town. We are discussing what can be done to prevent getting robbed, raped, beaten on your own boat while at anchor.
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Old 22-01-2014, 18:50   #171
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Re: St Lucia murder

There is one way I have found that really helps with personal security... it may be trite... but "be nice" is the #1 thing my dad taught me.

For example, if you are planning on being in St. Lucia for a few weeks try and find a worthy charity to work at for a day... visibly get involved and contribute something other than money and get to know the people around you. As you guys know, word travels fast in the islands. The locals know you have contributed to helping build their local community center, or whatever... and they know the bad guys. If they see someone eyeing you oddly they will say something and actively discourage that person or persons from putting you in harms way.

That has been my experience.
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Old 22-01-2014, 18:54   #172
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Re: St Lucia murder

The metal grid seems a good idea & there must be a slider solution, it allows air to travel through, however, another poster is correct, the hatches provide access for a robber, what next, bars over the middle of hatches, what about escape in an emergency at sea? I live in Spain, its quite normal for all houses and apartmets at ground level to have ¨grids¨ over open doors and windows at Night, It seems sensible to have this available on a boat available to you from time to time if you are in places where you feel you may need it!
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Old 22-01-2014, 18:56   #173
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by zboss View Post
There is one way I have found that really helps with personal security... it may be trite... but "be nice" is the #1 thing my dad taught me.

For example, if you are planning on being in St. Lucia for a few weeks try and find a worthy charity to work at for a day... visibly get involved and contribute something other than money and get to know the people around you. As you guys know, word travels fast in the islands. The locals know you have contributed to helping build their local community center, or whatever... and they know the bad guys. If they see someone eyeing you oddly they will say something and actively discourage that person or persons from putting you in harms way.

That has been my experience.
Are you kidding?? A scumbag or druggie is always gonna be that, they are not gonna decide WHO to rob??? The dont care who you are, they just want to steal from you, end of!
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Old 22-01-2014, 19:03   #174
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Re: St Lucia murder

It is so tempting to make the statistics fit the argument, or assume that a solution offered will fit every scenario…. We should all know better, so nitpicking is counterproductive!

In order to get their helpful message across in this Forum, experienced cruisers must necessarily generalize and it should be accepted that their message/warnings is somewhat subjective.

We are at risk every time we venture into new territory, which is the definition of cruising and the crew should set their own comfort level and security plan.

I see that as a personal lifestyle choice which should be above censure, otherwise some well-meaning lawmaker might outlaw their citizens cruising outside territorial waters.

This incident while sad is at the same time inspiring as the Pratts followed their dream.

Even though it ended badly, I am sure they knew that taking risks is part of a full life.
And I toast them for that!
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Old 22-01-2014, 19:29   #175
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Re: St Lucia murder

Vasco- First, I apologize if my response was a bit harsh. Always review before sending I guess.

Without inspecting the specific case, my guess is that you are right about the grate not being more resistant to attack than the plexiglass; the point is that it is possible to get ventilation without losing the protection from sneak thieves. Neither will do much if the crew is ashore. Also, I don't know the lock situation here, but generally speaking few production boats lock from inside.

I argue for a more robust closing that would withstand all but the most determined attack, as I think I have arranged on Carina. I have a bridge deck so there is only a small drop board, made of 3/4" plywood and reinforced at the top with another 3/4" hardwood, and with a pick-proof Miwa dead bolt.

As for ventilation in the tropics, I gave up on leaving the overhead hatches open at night. It was just too much of a nuisance to have to jump up and close the hatches every time it rained (frequently in the tropics). I left my portlights open, which were not a security risk nor did they allow much rain inside. Also I used 12v fans extensively. If I were to leave the hatches open I would want to arrange some bars or similar.

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Old 22-01-2014, 21:07   #176
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Try the Bahamas. Technically not in the Caribbean but the waters are amazing and the Bahamians are friendly. They don't seem to resent the foreigners. Good sailing too.
Indeed - we are heading there in 2 - 3 weeks time.

We were hoping to "enjoy" the Caribbean over the next 12 months before heading west to the Pacific.

As I mentioned earlier, I have lived in worked in Papua New Guinea - possibly the most unsafe place in the South Pacific. I have no desire to repeat that experience. I know how to mitigate risks and its a total PITA and I would rather not waste my precious few hours on this planet dreaming up ways to keep the dregs of humanity at bay.
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Old 22-01-2014, 23:34   #177
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Re: St Lucia murder

Here is an update from the Dily mail in the UK Widows-painful-return-murder-yacht-Wife-masks-injuries-sunglasses-watches-boat-moved-different-harbour-forensic-tests
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Old 23-01-2014, 04:25   #178
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by neelie View Post
As I mentioned earlier, I have lived in worked in Papua New Guinea - possibly the most unsafe place in the South Pacific. I have no desire to repeat that experience. I know how to mitigate risks and its a total PITA and I would rather not waste my precious few hours on this planet dreaming up ways to keep the dregs of humanity at bay.

I bet when you were working in PNG you never went to bed with the front door WIDE OPEN?

Did you?
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Old 23-01-2014, 05:22   #179
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Re: St Lucia murder

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Originally Posted by pablothesailor View Post
Here is an update from the Dily mail in the UK Widows-painful-return-murder-yacht-Wife-masks-injuries-sunglasses-watches-boat-moved-different-harbour-forensic-tests
Can't see any link?
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Old 23-01-2014, 05:34   #180
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Re: St Lucia murder

Daily Mail article, edited


Quote:

But yesterday, Margaret Pratt returned to the boat a widow following the brutal murder of Roger, 62, in St Lucia, last Friday.

Her sunglasses failed to hide two black eyes and bruised cheekbones - a result of the brutal beating inflicted upon her by a gang of robbers who attacked them on their £200,000 vessel in the middle of the night.



More...
Two more people arrested over the yacht murder of British sailor killed while protecting his wife
Two more people arrested over the yacht murder of British sailor killed while protecting his wife
Retired British couple in yacht tragedy 'were just like newlyweds': Diving instructor says they were 'so in love' as photo emerges of them preparing for round-the-world trip
Mr Pratt, a retired financial consultant and engineer, was bludgeoned to death by at least three robbers, in the industrial port of Vieux Fort.

A post-mortem found he died of asphyxiation due to ‘blunt force trauma’.

The couple were halfway through a year-long round-the-world trip and planned to sail to Trinidad on Monday.

Police said the attackers reached the yacht in a stolen green canoe before forcing the couple into separate rooms, where they beat them in an attempt to obtain valuables.


Boarded: The yacht is removed from the police holding area to another harbour on St Lucia


Stood on a concrete jetty in a straw hat, she bit her lip and put her hand to her mouth as her beloved boat, Magnetic Attraction, was moved to another harbour

When the gang fled, Mrs Pratt went looking for her husband and found him floating in the water.

She sought help from the occupants of a nearby boat, who called the police.

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of robbery and murder and police said they expected to charge some of the men ‘imminently’.

Vernon Francois, the commissioner of the island’s police force, told the Mail he believed the men ‘did not intend to kill’ Mr Pratt and that it was a robbery which ‘got out of hand’.


Mr Pratt (pictured with his wife, Margaret) was bludgeoned to death by at least three robbers

Mr Francois said: ‘We know that five individuals planned the robbery, but we do not know how many boarded the boat.

‘The men are cooperating and giving information about it.

‘We believe they had done some planning and wanted to rob a yacht.

‘They did not know these people or specifically target this couple.

‘We understand they did not go with the intention to kill. They beat them to say ‘give me what we want’.

He said that, in St Lucia, the charge of ‘manslaughter’ did not exist, however, and that the men were likely to be charged with murder, even if they did not all board the boat.

‘They did not have guns or knives but they used physical force to try to get them to get what they wanted.

‘Normally they ask for cash.’

Mr Francois said the suspects, in their twenties, were all from Vieux Fort, a depressed region of St Lucia away from the tourist resorts, where unemployment is high.

He said Mr Pratt’s body had been released and forensic tests were now complete on the yacht.

‘Mrs Pratt is free to leave St Lucia whenever she wants. We have finished our questioning.’

Mrs Pratt is receiving support from the British consulate and the St Lucian government.

Aniel Innocent, press officer for the Royal Saint Lucia Police, said: ‘Mrs Pratt also has some good friends in the area, British people, who are providing emotional support for her at this difficult time.’


The couple were halfway through a year-long round-the-world trip and planned to sail to Trinidad on Monday

A source close to the investigation said Mr Pratt had been punched eight times on his face and head.

They said: 'The bruising is consistent with a fist. It was mostly on the left side of his face.

'We believe he was punched unconscious and then fell overboard.

'He remained unconscious and asphyxiated or, in other words, he drowned.

'We do not believe anyone pushed him into the water because they would not have needed to. He was unconscious.

'He also had two minor rib fractures, which could be from hitting something as he fell on to the deck.'

There was no sign of skin beneath his fingernails, a common sign that there was a struggle during the attack.

However, the source said: 'The police are checking the injuries of the assailants to determine if there was a fight or night.'
It beggars belief the police are trying to downplay the attackers culpabilty...
'He also had two minor rib fractures, which could be from hitting something as he fell on to the deck.'
Is that saying the broken ribs are not caused by the attackers?

Thats sickening!

If thats the polices attitude then one really does wonder about the security of tourists in the whole country.
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