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Seychelles, Mahe, Port Victoria: Night-time boardings and thefts - July 2015

By s.v. Ceilydh — last modified Jul 27, 2015 11:31 AM

Published: 2015-07-25 23:00:00
Topics: Piracy & Security Incident Reports 2015
Countries: Seychelles

We have been anchored in the inner Yacht Basin in Victoria harbour, Seychelles, for 3 weeks.

About 2 weeks ago an unlocked French catamaran was boarded at night and a backpack containing an iPad and passports was taken.

Our Experience

At about 0300, 21 July 2015, our catamaran "Ceilydh" was also boarded by one or more swimmers. Our cabin door was open. The thief came inside and grabbed a mobile phone, backpack and purse and took them back into the cockpit and searched them. He only got the mobile and a small change purse with little money. He then stole our dinghy which had been tied alongside and paddled it to an Austrian catamaran "2Fast4you" nearby. There the thief entered the boat through a small unlocked back cabin window and got a laptop and iPhone. The owner awoke and chased the thief back into our dinghy, the thief then paddled it to the nearby island in the harbour and abandoned it there.

We notified the local marine police boat which regularly patrols the harbour. They contacted the land police who sent 2 officers. They also sent a fingerprint technician aboard to check for fingerprints. And they made sure we went to the police station and filed a formal statement. A few days later the 2Fast4you’s laptop was located and returned—it had had all the files wiped clean and there was no mention of the thief being found.

Now we are hoisting our dinghy at night, locking the door and hatches, and have downloaded some burglar alarm and motion detector apps for our tablet and phones. Let's hope we don't have them activated!

Other Incidents

A fourth catamaran anchored off Eden was boarded and robbed during the night a few days after our robbery. Their experience was much more alarming than the first three thefts. Two men swam to "SY Imagine" and opened the aft hatch where the owners were sleeping and informed them they were being robbed. The owner confronted the men and told them he'd shoot them with a flare pistol if they didn't leave the boat and slammed the hatch closed, but failed to lock it. One man reached inside the hatch taking a tablet, camera and e-reader while the owner went to grab the flare pistol.

With the flare pistol in hand the owner looked out his rear doors and saw someone trying to free his dinghy (which was up and locked). He opened the back door (which had been locked) and shot the flare pistol at the thief. The thief just laughed and pushed into the cabin, he grabbed a hold of the reloaded flare gun and shot it into the cabin where it started a small fire.

While the owner tried to put out the fire his wife grabbed pepper spray and aimed it at the men but the wind carried it away. One man hit her head against a winch while the other beat her with a broom handle they’d found in the cockpit. During this time the owner grabbed a machete to get them out of the boat. They jumped overboard carrying a few things (including the tablet).

The owner called on VHF for port control for help but when the police were alerted they were given the wrong location for the boat. The owner moved to the outer quarantine anchorage—which is unprotected in strong winds but too far for swimmers to reach. The police warned cruisers not to confront thieves because they are frequently on drugs (crystal meth) and more prone to being violent.

Police recommend cruisers lock their boats at night, lock and lift their dinghies and check their outside decks for anything that can be used as a weapon against them. The thieves are unarmed when they arrive--and it's assumed it is the same two thieves that have been attacking boats.

The Seychelles Yacht Club continues to be very cruiser friendly, with showers, a dinghy dock, good meals and a cheap(ish) bar for a nominal temporary weekly fee. They are also a good mailing address for packages and mail sent to you here. If the value of the package is < 3000 Seychelles Rupees, you should get it through customs without having to pay extra duty.

 

Evan Gatehouse & Diane Selkirk
s.v. Ceilydh
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