Papua New Guinea: Blupblup Island - Armed Robbery
On May 5, 2010, at midnight, we were boarded by six armed men. The incident happened at Blupblup Island, 50 miles SW of Wewak and 30 miles from the PNG coast.
There were two of us on board, we had taken shelter behind the island arriving at sunset very tired and in need of sleep. We were greeted by about 30 canoes and shown a place to anchor. However, about 2200hrs we were hassled by canoes demanding whiskey, we refused and sent them away a few times.
At midnight we were both asleep when we felt and heard a loud bang. It was a canoe banging into our transom. My crewman raced aft to fend off the invaders. The first of these guys was carrying an iron bar as he wrestled him, the second guy produced a machete with which he struck my crew over the forehead.
I made my way through the cabin and was confronted by more men with long knives and machetes. I was struck across the lower leg and held at knife point for more than an hour until my crew was brought down below to the saloon - he was bleeding heavily.
We were held at knifepoint for more than 3 hours whilst 4 men looted the boat stealing anything not bolted down, including food, tender, outboard motor, generator, cameras, epirbs, bunk mattresses, pillows - it was quite a haul. These men were very aggressive and we felt we would be killed.
We left the scene at 0400hrs and steamed 100 miles to Madang where we notified police and Australian officials.
We are a 12mt sailing cat en-route on delivery from Kota Kinabalu to Townsville. I would encourage any yachts to stay well clear of the PNG coast, particularly the Wewak or Sepik river areas.
We intended to keep well clear and stay on the outer islands like Kavieg etc., however weather conditions were against us and wind and sea conditions forced us to make a course change.
David SV Ten.
Editors Note: This is the first yacht attack in PNG that has been reported to noonsite since January 2008.