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Panama, Colon: Yacht at anchor boarded & robbed - March 2012

By Sue Richards last modified Sep 26, 2012 09:20 PM

Published: 2012-04-03 13:05:00
Topics: Piracy Reports 2012
Countries: Panama

Frank Peeters, Captain of "African Seawing", reported the following to noonsite:

On the night of Tue-27 to Wed-28 March at around 1:00am, the sailing vessel African Seawing anchored at the Club Nautico facility in Colon was boarded by 3 unknown brown skinned males of approx ~30 yrs old.

The 3 robbers reached the vessel apparently by swimming from the shore, since they appeared naked and wet on board (wearing only underpants). I was the only person present on board at that time since my 2 other crew members had departed for the night with vessel “Morning Cloud” for a rope handling assignment through the Panama Canal.

The robbers entered the boat through the main door and confronted me in my bed shouting “police…police” and demanding “Dinero”. One robber pulled me out of bed and repeated the demand for “Dineiro”. In order to comply, I went to the navigation table to look for my wallet which was no longer there. They threatened violence if I didn’t present them with my wallet and the keys for the safe. After giving them the keys for the safe, they tied up my hands with electric tie wraps and made me sit down and keep still in the corridor of the port hull. At this time they emptied the contents of the safe and searched the remainder of the boat for valuables. A while later they tied my legs together with electric tie wraps and a short time thereafter the boat fell quiet and I assumed that the 3 robbers had left the boat.

With difficulty I worked my way up towards the kitchen in search for a knife to cut the ties. After finding a knife and cutting the ties I went outside to look for help and I noticed that the dinghy was gone. In order to raise the alarm, I used the VHF radio to make a distress call on several common channels but I was not getting any replies to my calls. Looking through the mess on the navigation table I was able to locate my mobile and I called 911.

After approximately 20min, the police arrived in the grounds of the Club Nautico, but they could not reach African Seawing since no dinghy was available. A dinghy was found after ~30 min at which time the police boarded African Seawing to investigate and take statements. They also recovered my dinghy from the beach after which they departed.

Thereafter I started taking an inventory of missing money, computers and other items, see list below.

Items lost with estimated Values 1. Banknotes $1000 from safe box 2. Banknotes $500 from wallet 3. Banknotes $500 from pot 4. Banknotes $1000 from crew wallet 5. Computer HP Pavilion portable value $500 6. Computer HP portable value $750 7. Computer Acer portable value $750 8. Sony Camera $250 9. Water proof housing for Sony camera $300 10. Canon Camera $250 11. Binoculars $750 12. MP3 player $50 13. Two external HDD Maxtor 500Gb $500 14. Navionics sea-maps $2000 15. Sunglasses $100 16. Data lost $xxxx