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Venezuela: Followed Suspiciously - Nov 2009

By Sue Richards last modified Apr 19, 2010 11:55 AM

Published: 2010-04-19 11:55:16
Topics: Piracy Reports 2009
Countries: Venezuela

Posted on 2009-11-10

s/v Jupiter a 52’ cutter departed Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela November 6, 2009 at 0600 bound for Marina Puerto del Rey located on the east side of Puerto Rico with the owner and one crew aboard.

We were midway between Isla La Tortuga (approx. 10.55 N 65. W) and Isla de Margarita (approx. 11 N 64.30 W) on Friday 6 November about 1700 when a skiff/fishing boat painted in typical Venezuelan bright colors and about 20’ LOA with a large outboard and 3 men suspiciously began to follow within a 100-200 meters in our wake. We were mid way between the islands which are approximately 60 NM apart so it was obvious they were not fishing and were in fact checking us out. When they accelerated and approached to within 60 yards, we both got on the aft deck with a flare gun and other offensive measures and directly confronted them.

They dropped back several times and conferred and made several more close passes before dropping astern, conferring with each other several times and then stopped following us and dropped out of sight.

My post analysis is as follows:

1) A well thought out tactical operation was implemented before leaving Puerto La Cruz to take a direct route away from the coast and out of Venezuela territorial waters, motor day light and dark, display no sails or nav lights in order to have minimal visibility.

2) The confrontational manner, staring at them, noting every move they made, and not knowing whether be had other weapons aboard stopped they’re advance.

3) We are two men aboard, not a couple of retirees. This certainly put the spineless cowards in a position to be on a one on one situation as the third one would have stay and control the skiff so they decided not to take a chance.

4) If it had been a single person or a couple we would most likely been boarded with unknown and probably deadly consequences.

5) We continued to motor north of Venezuela’s last island of La Blanquilla (Approx. 11.53 N 11.53 W) and keep 20NM west before setting sail.

We strongly suggest everyone to consider doing likewise or a least implement some of our "lesson’s" learned!

The incident was reported the US Customs and Border agents that came aboard when we cleared in at Marina Puerto del Rey, Puerto Rico.

Fair winds, safe cruising.

Jeffrey Edwards
s/v Jupiter