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Belize, Pelican Cayes: Charter Yacht Brutally Attacked

By Sue Richards last modified Mar 26, 2012 12:28 PM

Published: 2012-03-26 12:28:51
Countries: Belize

Posted 23 March 2012

The Central American sailing community has been left reeling following the latest attack on a cruising boat, this time in “safe” Belize. News of the horrific attack, which took place last Sunday (18 March), only highlights the danger of anchoring alone in secluded anchorages at night, once the major “advantage” of cruising.

The Belize police have not officially confirmed any information about this attack as they are still investigating the incident, however, local news agencies and noonsite’s contacts in Belize have reported the following:

The incident apparently happened onboard a catamaran chartered from the “Moorings Charter Company” that was anchored in the Pelican range of Cayes, the first set of islands off Dangriga. It is believed that on board were two American couples in their fifties/sixties, although some reports state there were as many as 8 guests on board.

At around nine o’clock on Sunday night, four dark complexioned men boarded the yacht by skiff, entering the boat from the deck through an open hatch in one of the bedrooms. The men allegedly attacked the charter group on board.

From what we know, one of the women was stabbed in the abdomen and one of the men was stabbed in the arm and injured on the forehead. Some reports are also stating that 2 women were raped. The other guests managed to hide in their cabins and were not assaulted.

One of the group members instigated a “Mayday” call on the VHF, however how the boat finally got away is currently unknown. Following the incident, the yacht made it back to Yolanda’s Dock Yard in Placencia where the injured crew were given hospital medical treatment.

Locals believe that the culprits are residents of Dangriga, which is very poor. The Police Department along with the Belize Coast Guard are still investigating the pirate attack and we will post updates as and when information becomes available.

This is not the first boarding of yachts in the Pelican Range, there have been a number of incidents in the past, however none as horrible or as violent as this one.

It is recommended that all yachts AVOID remaining in the Pelican Range of Cayes overnight.

E-mail received 24 March 2012

Received From: Dustin Ingersoll
Subject: Pelican Cayes
I am so sorry to here about this horrible incident. My wife and I have a small place out in the Pelicans. We have lived out here for almost 3 years now and help and serve the boats as needed. We have never had any trouble with anyone or anything out here in our beautiful harbour. Never had any theft in our range or on any of the boats that anchor here almost every night. We have had many boats that have anchored here since and I belive they felt safe because of the constant Belize Coastguard & BDF patrols.

They will find these terrible people soon. Our hearts truly go out to the victims and their families. I only wish I had not turned my VHF off early that night. We live on an island only a mile away from where it happened.