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Panama: Skipper Killed and Crew Wounded in Yacht Attack - Further Updates

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 11, 2010 05:27 PM

Published: 2010-07-11 17:27:01
Topics: Piracy Reports 2010
Countries: Panama

Update Received 10 July 2010

Local press in Panama are now reporting that the person killed in the attack on the yacht Altares was a known Salvage Diver and Treasure Hunter who probably had a large amount of valuables on board, which makes one believe that it was not a random case.

Report of Attack Posted 2 July 2010

Note that there is still some uncertainty over the nationality of the skipper who was killed, whether American (of danish decent) or Danish.

Taken from reports by the Panama Guide and TVN Noticias, with comments from two local cruisers at bottom of report.

Reports state that one cruiser was killed and two others were wounded, in what appears was an assault by five pirates on a cruising boat at sea near Bajo Pipón, about 15 to 20 minutes from the Port of Pedregal, in the province of Chiriquí, Panama.

The incident occurred at about 3:00am on the morning of Wednesday, 30 June 2010.

Later the same morning, the yacht that was attacked - a 70 foot sailboat named "Altares" - pulled into the port of Pedregal. A young North American man and a woman from Chiriqui were both on board with serious injuries.

Officers of the Panamanian National Naval Air Service (Senan) reported finding the body of the skipper aboard the yacht.

The injured American, Zachary Ksaer Olsen, had been shot in the side while the young woman, Sugey Rodríguez, had been severely beaten in the face. The injured were rushed to the Emergency Room of the Rafael Hernández regional hospital in David, where Olsen underwent surgery.

The skipper who was killed was "Bo" - Zack's father (of Danish nationality). They lived aboard "Altares" and had recently moved their anchorage from Pedregal to Bajo Pipon.

Three patrol boats of the Servicio Nacional Aeronaval are currently searching for the five pirates, however no further details are available at this time.

Our thanks to James Hansen and Serge Bernaquez for notifying noonsite of this attack. See Serge's comment below.

I am a local cruiser in Boca Chica Panama, have been here since Nov. 2009. I have not once heard of any theft on board boats since my arrival here in Boca Chice. Although, Pedegral does have a reputation for petty thefts on board boats. I believe this is an isolated incident and not the beginning of a trend.

Serge Bernaquez
SY Kolea

This area has developed to be quite popular with cruisers over the last few years and it is the first serious incident involving a yacht. However, on the land side crime has developed to be a serious problem, transiting drugs being one of the reasons. Robberies, including violent robberies, burglaries etc. are not uncommon and I can only say that if you are anchoring alone in a remote area it is not all that safe!

Karsten Staffeldt
Contact Panama for DOCA and OCCD, Denmark and OSK, Sweden