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Philippines, Mindoro, Paluan Bay: Armed Boarding & Robbery - February 2013

By SY Pelangi — last modified Feb 26, 2013 11:04 AM
The anchorage where this horrible incident took place is just around the North Western tip of Mindoro, 50 miles from Puerto Galera. It is a notorious bad weather choke point, where many yachts wait for good weather to round the cape.

Published: 2013-02-26 00:00:00
Topics: Piracy Reports 2013
Countries: Philippines

We thought we should tell people about an awful experience we had recently in Mindoro, Philippines.

Take note of the anchorage and way point and if you are cruising in this area or on your way to Peurto Galera don't go there!

The anchorage is just around the North Western tip of Mindoro in Paluan Bay. Way point 13.21.560 - 120.28.013 opposite Gamtas Point.

We had spent 2 lovely days there on our way up to PG in Dec so thought it was a safe place to rest.

On 21st Feb at about 9.30 pm a local banka (boat) came along side in the pitch black with a person saying they had run out of fuel and could we help. As we came into the cockpit from below we noted 6 people in the banka. As we offered them our petrol jug 4 of them came on board. 1 had a gun and we were forced to kneel down while they tied our hands behind our backs.

Gareth was forced to stay in the cockpit while I was told to go below and show them where our money was. 3 came below with me and I showed them where we keep our money. They then went through the boat and helped themselves to most of our electronic equipment, VHF radio, mobile phones, camera etc. and all the money we had.  Fortunately, we persuaded them to let us keep the laptops as they have all our charts and without them we would be completely stuck.

They then left us tied up and told us to stay on the floor till they'd gone. These guys were amateurs and we're not sure if the gun was real, but it was a traumatic ordeal and not one that we'd want anyone else to go through.

After they'd gone, we slipped anchor and got out of there.

This is our 2nd visit to the Philippines and we must emphasise that we have had some wonderful and humbling experiences cruising many islands and visiting local villages across all regions.  The local people have always been welcoming, friendly and helpful.  Until that night we have never felt unsafe here. We think this was a group of uneducated opportunists and we were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In reporting this incident we hope not to scare people, or put them off coming here just be wary of people around your boat at night and stay out of that bay.

If you are reading this and you know us please DO NOT post ANYTHING on my facebook page as our families follow our adventures through my page.  If they were to find out about this incident they would be worried sick.  We were unharmed and are safe – that’s all that matters.

Julie and Gareth
SY Pelangi

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