St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Union Island: Violent attack on cruising boat
On 3rd October, sailing vessel Rainbow was anchored off Union Island at Frigate Island, which is attached to Union Island, SVG (approx. 12 34.9882 N 061 26.2582 W). The owners, Mark and Tina, were just about to settle down to a nice quiet dinner on board and getting ready to clean the fish they had caught earlier in the day, when a machete-wielding youth boarded their boat and violently attacked Tina slashing her face and shoulder.
Fortunately, Mark reacted quickly by grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbed the youth, who subsequently fell off the boat enabling them to pull the anchor up, raise the alert via the VHF radio and get across to Carriacou.
The attacker was only 15 years old. He and two accomplices rode out to SY Rainbow in a small boat armed with at least 1 machete with intent to cause harm, as no demands were made prior to the attack.
The vessel Desiderata was monitoring Ch 66, the Grenada Cruisers Net repeater, and Rainbow’s calls for help were passed onto Rescue 1 which operates from Prickly Bay Marina in Grenada. With SY Rainbow taking the decision to head to better medical help in Carriacou, Rescue 1 was able to liaise with Coast Guard, Police and authorities to have the Hillsborough wharf cleared and an Ambulance waiting for them.
Mark on Rainbow was able to get into Carriacou in just over an hour whilst administering first aid with advice via VHF66 from a nurse aboard SV Bella Blue and Dr Radix from Black Rock medical centre.
Tina was flown to Grenada on Friday morning 4 October and after an unpleasant 30 hours in hospital, was discharged and taken to a comfortable hotel courtesy of the Grenada Board of Tourism.
Mark meanwhile had to return to Union Island to make statements to the police and get his injuries checked out at the hospital. He was hailed as a hero by the local community there who came out to welcome him, thank him and offer all manner of support for taking action against the attacker.
The perpetrators of the attack are in custody & Mark is being asked to testify back in Union Island next week He faced their attacker when he had to go with the SVG police to give a statement & the youth showed no remorse.
Union island is not in Grenada. Frigate Island is attached to Union Island and is, as is Union Island, in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Rescue 1 is a private rescue service of the Prickly Bay Marina, Grenada, and is on call 24 hours each day. As well as the rescue vessel it provides excellent liaison between cruisers, Police, Coast Guard, and other Authorities.
VHF Channel 66 Repeater was privately donated to the Grenadian Government and is used by the Grenada Cruisers Net to provide coverage to all Grenadian waters. It can also be received in southern parts of St Vincent and the Grenadines and the northern parts of Trinidad including Chaguaramas Bay. The Grenada Cruisers Net supplies weather, advice, and information on many subjects to help make Cruisers’ stay in Grenada more rewarding. Its broadcast each day at 7:30 AM.
Cruisers are recommended to have a radio repeater on VHF Ch 66 at all times whilst cruising these waters and to monitor it overnight.
There are a number of issues which will be addressed following this attack, including radio channels for calling in the case of emergencies, how to render assistance if you suspect foul play on another boat in an anchorage & personal & group safety action plans & emergency response strategies.
Information for this report contributed by Mark Jensen of SY Sea Life, the Grenada Cruisers Net, the Caribbean Safety and Security Net (CSSN) and Cruisers_Network_Online.
Editor's Note: A similarly violent attack occured in Tobago on 26 September - see report here.