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Old 26-07-2019, 13:29   #46
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Re: Armed robbery in Panama

Originally Posted by Timoqueg View Post
"The radiotelephony message PAN-PAN is the international standard urgency signal that someone aboard a boat, ship, aircraft, or other vehicle uses to declare that they have a situation that is urgent, but for the time being, does not pose an immediate danger to anyone's life or to the vessel itself. This is referred to as a state of urgency."

Anyone at any time who boards a boat without the explicit permission of the skipper is by his or her foot onboard that boat is activation a "State of Urgency." Anyone who brings any type of weapon, of any kind at all onboard someone else's boat, that is then a heightened state of urgency. However, if any person brandishes any kind of weapon that the skipper does not have absolute control over that is immediately a May Day call.
A reasonable assessment of degree of relative urgency / emergency but likely there being no time to be able to issue a May Day once the vessel has been boarded by six men, with at least one having and threatening with a gun. Heck, I am kind of surprised they didn't take the radio set along with the other more portable goods, perhaps the radio was firmly affixed onboard such as to require tools to dismantle. A thinking robber would have disabled the radio at least, e.g., smash it or at least take the microphone so as to make it harder for the victims to contact law enforcement personnel. Ditto for cell phones, sat phones, etc. But then these robbers were supposedly high on drugs so likely had not thought through their best protocol of actions. Likely a crime of opportunity.

But as to the OP's copying of the incident report on a Facebook page [and link thereto], the victims' Pan Pan messaging and DSC issuance was after the incident had occurred and they had lifted anchor and were transiting 7 miles back to another anchorage. There fortunately were no injuries or disablement of their vessel, so there would appear to have been no urgency of response by other mariners. A Securite notification would have been most appropriate so as to provide guidance to other mariners of the threat of robbery and to pass along a description of the robbers and their "get away vessel" so that others could be vigilant and on the look out so as to possibly report the presence of the robbers to avail law enforcement personnel an opportunity to apprehend them. The Facebook posting of the incident does not describe the scope or nature of their VHF Pan Pan and DSC, nor did the Facebook posting indicate the explicit request, IF ANY, for response by those that heard and understood their message.

To repeat my earlier post, if the VHF message was just "We were robbed!!!" what if any response would be motivated to arise by others. Mariners generally are not vigilantes, they would not be expected to and simply aren't going to head towards a potential gun fight; if anything, I would think the typical mariner's response would be: Sorry to hear of your misfortune and glad to hear the "heads up" warning, and then decide to alter course and give that area a wide diversion. And given the robbery victims had no expressed urgency or emergency for which others could assist with, there would be no cause for other mariners to respond by radio or action.
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Old 26-07-2019, 20:22   #47
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Re: Armed robbery in Panama

OK, Waterman 46.
"You are now seriously considering cancelling all our plans to transit canal West to East and cruise Western Caribbean".
The incident happened on the Atlantic side of Panama and this is the SW end of the Caribbean. So, afraid of transitting the 'Canal' and the the Pacific and the enchanting isles?
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Old 27-07-2019, 09:25   #48
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Re: Armed robbery in Panama

Originally Posted by argonauta1 View Post
Horrifying experience! Reaction to such an invasion often drives the outcome. You folks manged to respond in such a way that it contributed to your survival Well done! Very familiar with the area and there is a lot of crime. We avoided any stop between The San Blas and Colon except for Portobelo. That is because through our networking, we learned where the bad spots were. Other cruisers were really the only decent source of intelligence so developing and maintaining contacts was the best approach to staying out of trouble. Ending up in an unplanned location because of weather or technical issues can be dangerous as you discovered. We have done the same thing and been lucky. It should be taken as a warning to leave if you see no other boats anchored. Once offshore, the only real "party line" communication even in today's world remains the SSB Net. Thus, that system is the best source of information relevant to offshore cruising. FB is too limited and only works if there is WIFI. Sat phones are great for personal business but that is all. Essential: engage in networking with other yachts. Thank you for reporting and safe sailing.
There have also been serious issues in Portobelo recently.

SSB nets are good sources of info, but many events are also reported to CSSN. This event and many in the area from Portobelo to the San Blas have been reported.
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