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Solomon Islands: Florida Islands - Armed Robberies

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 19, 2010 11:28 AM

Published: 2010-04-19 11:28:57
Topics: Piracy Reports 2009
Countries: Solomon Islands

Posted 2009-07-06

This information was forwarded to noonsite by a concerned cruiser, 4 June 2009.

While in the Solomons (arrived 13/10/08 and left 31/03/09) we heard of 16 robberies in the Florida Islands, specifically Tulagi, all with people on board and at night with knifes and clubs.

We were robbed at gunpoint, war club, and bush knife in Avi Avi (slipway), near Tulagi, at 0345 in the morning (we were sleeping on deck). A couple of days later the police came out. Were friendly. I gave them my report and they said it had to be on their form (which I then filled out). I asked them if they would send me three copies to the yacht club, but this was never done. I even went to the main police station in Guadalcanal twice (but they) refused to follow up. I heard through the yacht club that they had arrested the four guys. The police let these guys go and still have our things.

In October, Dave and his wife (Koreans on a cat from Australia) were robbed at knifepoint to their throats and lost about 6000 dollars u.s. in monies, equipment, etc.

On December 2nd, Tody from New Zealand arrived in Liapari with a broken motor. I went over to help and was advised the week prior he sailed into Tulagi, anchored off the police station, and that morning, early, he heard people on deck and shouted “who is on my boat”. He opened the hatch, a large tall man placed his shoed foot on his hand and threatened to chop it off with a meat cleaver. They had bush knives and war clubs. They knocked all his front teeth out and proceeded to steal everything. He begged them to let him keep his credit card which they did. From his description, (it was) the same four guys who robbed us.

Our friend Frank from Holland was robbed of everything at the Point Cruz yacht club on December 2nd. (The yacht club is a) nice place, nice people, very interesting expatriate community, however poor anchorage, no security and (I suspect) someone is giving inside information for robberies of people anchored and tied to the wall. All robberies here no one was on board. We were told in the beginning to not anchor by the yellow buoy as you will surely get robbed.

Shawn and Lulu from Australia, nice people, they went back to their vessel and approximately 8000 AUS dollars had been stolen (computer, pactor modem, monies, pictures, etc). I mentioned this to a local expatriate and he found out who the thieves were and made arrangements for the people to buy their stuff back for approximately 50 per cent. Needless to say they were fed up, leaving direct for Australia, and would never go back.

Avoid dive trips with Bilikiki Cruises, they are operating with un-licensed personnel. If you want to do dive trips, (go with) Manta Ray Hotel in Yap with Jan or Palau. If you still insist on diving the Solomons, go with Geoffrey (who runs the pressure chamber) or John Neil, who is based in Tulagi, and stay at a hotel.

Take pictures of every canoe that comes to your boat. Honiara now has a new canoe within 15 feet of a yachtie. Of course, no one cares and not enforced. The week prior to our robbery a man in a canoe went around our vessel at least three times, eying everything on board, no eye contact at all. I should have started taking pictures. Keep your valuables on your person (passport) or take them to the yacht club where they are safe.

The western Solomons are nice but the crime is infiltrating there also. We strongly recommend avoiding the Solomon Islands. We suggest Vanuatu to the Marshalls and thence west; or New Caledonia, New Zealand.

Noonsite has written to the Point Cruz Yacht Club and the Visitors Bureau for comment, but as yet have not received a reply.

Received 4 July, 2009, from David & Sue Pyo
I read your Solomon Island piracy report. There are a few thing incorrect in your story.

We are Asian Australian. The real story is when we went to Tulagi, the local police adviced us move the boat near the police station to anchor, second night 4 young intruder came on my boat. I shot flare gun, call VHF for help, Police respond and came on my boat in 15 minutes.

They only took my binocular ,not the money, nor $6000. After I employed one men for security (AUD$5 per night). I put reward sign for my binocula AUD $100, later I got my binocular back.

Every society has good and bad. We met so many good solomon people too!!! They are very poor. All the cruiser should show more generosity toward third world people, and let them look at you same eye level !!!