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Old 05-12-2021, 05:16   #1
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Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Will be cruising from Cancun to Panama this spring. Recent Videos has indicated off the Eastern Coast of Belize and Nicaragua are the most dangerous.

How far off the coast should I stay and any other general suggestions are appreciated
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Old 05-12-2021, 05:33   #2
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Check out the:
Caribbean Safety and Security Net [CSSN]
https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/

Select Month/Year
https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/2021/11/

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Old 05-12-2021, 14:59   #3
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Thank You for the info.

Seems like if we stay 100 NM off-shore we should be ok since I can not find any record of "visits" at that distance
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Old 05-12-2021, 20:29   #4
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

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Thank You for the info.

Seems like if we stay 100 NM off-shore we should be ok since I can not find any record of "visits" at that distance
There seem to be enough similar incidents with large steel fishing vessels.
Interestingly, one report also notes that after the incident they continued with AIS off. Any thoughts as to if there are risks of AIS tracking being used to target vessels, it is after all often freely available online info.
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Old 06-12-2021, 02:46   #5
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

My wife and I did the same trip last spring: Puerto Aventuras to Colon. We started off going straight east from Puerto Aventuras, then about midway between Cayman Islands and Honduras, then far enough east to stay about 140 nm off the coast of Nicaragua while heading south toward Panama. We did not transmit AIS at any point during the trip and we turned off the navigation lights (and all other lights) for the two nights we spent off Nicaragua.

We were of course while very vigilant about keeping watch while running dark and on the whole while off Nicaragua. We only saw one boat in the daytime that worried us a bit, but they were just fishing.

So we took some precautions to minimize the risk of problems, but I did not consider it a high risk trip the way we did it. The trip went well, but it is hard work going that far upwind and against the current. Make sure you have plenty of time for it.
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Old 06-12-2021, 09:09   #6
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Never knew this was a problem down there (excuse my ignorance)... interesting...
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Old 06-12-2021, 15:06   #7
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

We passed that way going the other way in January 2020. No problems for us. You will enjoy the Bay Islands of Honduras! From Guanaja, set a course to stay at least 30nm to northeast of Cay Gorda before turning south and avoid the other shallow banks in that area.

What we did: turned off running and cabin lights and AIS transmitter in this area. Used radar on a regular basis, but for no more than a few minutes each time. Once you get near the Columbian island of Providencia your piracy worries are over as the Columbian Navy is in control.
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Old 06-12-2021, 15:17   #8
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

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Never knew this was a problem down there (excuse my ignorance)... interesting...
It's a problem alright and not all incidents are reported. In 2001 we had a lucky escape in a bay at the Infiernillo area in Panama. A few years ago we were in a marina in Brisbane next to an American boat. The owner was an ex marine. After talking with him for awhile and mentioning our experience he pointed to the four bullet holes in the side of his boat. He was anchored in the same area 12 years after our encounter. A small boat came towards him close to dark and they opened fire on him. He shot and killed all 3 and sank the boat. His UK girlfriend was highly traumatised.
He considered his options and sailed directly to Tahiti where she flew home. Obviously this was never reported. Possibly these 3 were the same ones we met more than a decade before.
They had upped their game plan it seems. He fixed the hole situation in Brisbane and repainted his boat.
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Old 06-12-2021, 15:29   #9
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

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Originally Posted by PYV58 View Post
Will be cruising from Cancun to Panama this spring. Recent Videos has indicated off the Eastern Coast of Belize and Nicaragua are the most dangerous.

How far off the coast should I stay and any other general suggestions are appreciated

Understand you will depart from Cancun so there is no reason to go hundreds of miles off the coast as some have suggested to get to Panama. My previous post covered the passage from islands of Honduras to Providencia. You don't want to miss the Bay Islands of Honduras.

Where did you hear of any problems off the coast of Belize? In a few weeks we will pass from Rio Dulce going north and I expect to stay just outside the reefs to get to Cozumel and have not heard of any concern about piracy in that area.

BTW a cruise up the Rio Dulce is also very interesting. And the natives are quite peaceful and friendly.
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Old 06-12-2021, 16:21   #10
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

I also should mention that when we timed our passage around Gorda Bank for midnight, in addition to going dark visually and on AIS, we placed our radar reflector below deck. We motored at top speed so during all daylight hours we were well clear of that area.



Almost all incidents reported by the security net are thefts of equipment on boats at anchor by themselves in remote locations or boats not occupied. I couldn't find any violent encounters involving boats underway in this area.
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Old 13-12-2021, 07:43   #11
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

I thought cruising was supposed to be enjoyable and relaxing?
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Old 08-01-2022, 12:31   #12
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Thank You.

I am planning a cruise from Cancun to Panama this spring. I am needing suggestions on fueling options south of Belize (Honduras would be ideal) for my cruiser.

I also have read on the forum that the Nicaragua Police are aggressive about boarding ships and inspecting for fishing licenses--how far off the coast do their territorial waters extend and how can I protect myself from this intrusion since I do not plan to check into Nicaragua ?
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Old 08-01-2022, 13:47   #13
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Reads like you are getting a good dose of misinformation from somewhere:

I know of zero incidents of "piracy" off eastern Mexico.

There has been for many years "piracy" issues along the mainland Honduran coast (especially near Punta Sal) and on the Nicaraguan Banks (East of Nicaragua).

To my knowledge the Nicarguan "Police" have never been an issue. None of the above issues I know of involved Nicraguan or Honduran authorities.

See CSSN for actual event reports and interactive map (and dump whatever source is feeding you misinformation)


https://safetyandsecuritynet.org/
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Old 08-01-2022, 13:52   #14
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

Re refueling. What is your range under power?

In Belize you can easily take on fuel in Belize City and Placencia.

I would not stop anywhere on the Honduran mainalnd, but problems are much less common out on the Bay Islands.

The usual next stop from there is San Andreas/Providencia (Colombian islands off the E coast of Nicaragua).

I would strongly advise avoiding anywhere on the E coast of Nicaragua.

From there the next usual stop is either Bocas del Toro or Colon.
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Old 08-01-2022, 14:33   #15
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Re: Piracy off Eastern Mexico/Central America

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Re refueling. What is your range under power?

In Belize you can easily take on fuel in Belize City and Placencia.

I would not stop anywhere on the Honduran mainalnd, but problems are much less common out on the Bay Islands.

The usual next stop from there is San Andreas/Providencia (Colombian islands off the E coast of Nicaragua).

I would strongly advise avoiding anywhere on the E coast of Nicaragua.

From there the next usual stop is either Bocas del Toro or Colon.

Probably best to avoid Colon proper, but check into Shelter Bay Marina on the other side of the harbor for fuel and/or preparation for the Canal.
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