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Piracy attempt NW of Cape Verde Islands

By doina — last modified Jun 11, 2007 10:25 AM

Published: 2007-06-11 10:25:38
Countries: Cape Verdes

I've just completed a crossing from the Canaries to Barbados (on "Arioso II" registered in Vancouver). On this passage we experienced what we are certain was an attempt at piracy.

A fishing vessel (probably 60-70') from the Cape Verdes altered course to intersect our HR 40 sloop about 250nm NW of the Cape Verdes on May 16th. As it passed abreast at about 0.25nm, it contacted us on VHF16, seemingly to start a friendly conversation in English. The vessel gave no self identification information. As it passed astern, it rounded up to follow us (consistently hiding its stern and hence its name and home port from us). As it did so, it asked us how many crew we had aboard. At this point I requested that she resume her prior course and that she not close with us. I stated that we were fully prepared to defend ourselves.

After several warnings, the vessel did resume its prior course, with no further VHF contact. Then, just beyond our visual horizon, we tracked her on radar as she altered course again to a course which would have intercepted us after dark. We altered course away and saw nothing further of the vessel.

So nothing happened, but I feel that the combination of five facts indicates an interest in piracy on her part: no identification on VHF, rounding up to follow when there was no reason to do so, hiding her stern from our view, asking how many crew we had aboard, and altering course again beyond our visual range.

Carl McCrosky, skipper of Arioso.