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Venezuela: North Coast - Yacht Skipper Shot and Killed

By Sue Richards last modified May 06, 2010 09:03 PM

Published: 2010-05-06 21:03:12
Topics: Piracy Reports 2010
Countries: Venezuela

As reported by the Caribbean Safety and Security Net

April 29, 2010 - The Curacao Rescue

From an official written dispatch dated 19 April 2010 sent to the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard by "Coast Guard, Netherlands Antilles and Aruba, Naval Base Perera, Willemstad, Curacao", and to several other Coast Guard Stations in the Caribbean. The Caribbean Safety and Security Net was informed by Donald Stollmeyer, Power Boats, Trinidad, following a meeting between him and the captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard on 28 April.

The name of the boat is "Spirit of Cologne II", home port Koln, Germany. It was attacked on Saturday 3rd April, one mile off the north coast of Venezuela along the Paria de Peninsula. The lady's name is Angelica Ropke-Wiels, German. During the attack her husband, Hans Jorgen Ropke was shot and killed. After the assailants left, Mrs. Ropke stayed on the boat trying to sail in a northerly direction for four days. As all communication equipment was removed she could contact no one. She eventually abandoned the boat in favor of her life raft and drifted away from the boat which was left floating and seemingly in good condition.

She was picked up on 16th April 2010 at approx 10.35am by the merchant vessel San Fernando at position 13 16 01N 67 51 01W, which transported her to the Curacao Coast Guard station. She was then medevaced by CITRO (Curacao volunteer search and rescue) to hospital, where she was met by the German consul for Curacao and treated for sun exposure and dehydration. The yacht was found on a reef in Los Roques, Venezuela, by the Venezuelan Coast Guard.

Comment: the Paria and Araya Peninsulas continue to be the single most dangerous cruising grounds in the Eastern Caribbean, based on some twelve years of tracking reports of crime against yachts. Sailors are urged to stay at least twenty miles (one individual suggested 100 miles) from this coast to avoid the potential of the armed robberies (and often assaults) which have been reported.