Caribbean, Trinidad Hibiscus Oil Platform: Pirates fire shots at sailboat – April 2019


A sail boat positioned about 15NM NE of the Hibiscus oil platform was approached by a group of eight Venezuelans in an attempted piracy attack.

Published 5 years ago

The following  updated report on this incident has been reported by CSSN

DATE: 2019-04-14 10:30
Country Name:Trinidad/Tobago
Location Detail: Trinidad Hibiscus Gas Platform
EVENT: Attempted piracy
Stolen Items: None, not successful


A 53’ US flagged monohull transiting from Trinidad to Grenada with 2 persons onboard was approached by 8 pirates in an open piroque at 10:30 AM, at approximate position 11-24N, 61-36W, about 16 miles NNE of the Hibiscus gas platform, and 37 miles south of Grenada.

The pirates 40 ft. boat had 2 large outboards, was white/blue with an orange bow and approached from the east. The pirates fired warning shots into the air and indicated they wished the yacht to stop. It did not.

The 8 pirates carried 6 weapons – 3 handguns and 3 automatic rifles – and apparently were speaking Spanish as they came within 20-30 ft. of the yacht, firing weapons.

The helmsman attempted to use the VHF radio, which he did not.

High seas prevented the pirogue from successfully approaching and boarding as the yacht maintained full speed and began zigzag manoeuvres. Additional shots were then fired at the boat and helmsman, damaging the hull and coach roof, but no injuries were sustained.

The pirates gave up and fled the area at high speed to the west. Reports were made by the victims on arrival in Grenada to both Grenada and Trinidad/Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG).

Yachting Services Association Trinidad/Tobago (YSATT) indicates that TTCG are on “High Alert” and have added assets and increased patrols in the area. As the overall situation in nearby Venezuela is not expected to improve, plans are being formulated to form escort/convoys. Float plans filed with TTCG and North Post Radio remain the best method for communicating with officials there.

Additional details are expected and CSSN will update this report when they are received.


This is a NOTICE FROM YSATT reporting the same incident as detailed above:-

“About 10.30 today April 14th, Sylph, a 55 ft Beneteau sail boat positioned about 15 nm NE of the Hibiscus oil platform was approached by a group of 8 Venezuelans in an attempted piracy attack. The Yacht refused to stop and in heavy seas and high wind took an evasive zig zag course preventing them from boarding. 
Due to the fact that they were unable to board they abandoned their plans and left but fired several shots at the sailboat. No one on board was injured , the boat suffered several bullet holes. 
Sylph is now in Port Louis Grenada meeting with the Coast Guard and officials. 
TTCG is in contact with the Grenada CG and will be meeting 
With YSATT tomorrow. 
As further details become available we will keep everyone informed.

Meanwhile : Please FILE A FLOAT PLAN with the TTCG and call North Post Radio station if you are traveling in or out of Trinidad. Travel in a convoy if possible.

Tommy Johnson 
Ag President 


Submitting a Float Plan
Information from Jesse James – SSCA Cruising Station Trinidad

To submit a float plan there is a very simple form that has been created between Trindad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) and North Port Radio (NPR). The float plan can be found on Jesse James’ website:

It requests very simple and basic information, with instructions and contact emails and phone numbers included on the form. Suggestions on safety issues are also available. 

E-mail the completed form to the TTCG and cc Jesse James, who follows up with them and the NPR to ensure they receive each completed Float Plan:

[email protected]
cc [email protected]

Before departing Trinidad contact the TTCG  advising them of your intended time of leaving Trinidad, intended route and ETA in Grenada, remembering to also confirm your safe arrival with the TTCG.

This can be communicated by: 

Phone: 800-TTCG or 634-1476 
[email protected] 
HF – 
2186MHz (call sign – 9YA)

If there are cruisers that want to do the passage as a convoy and there is a large enough group (approximately 10 vessels), they can contact Jesse James directly who will assist in ensuring TTCG co-operation.

Both the TTCG and NPR are asking if cruisers have AIS, that they switch it on and sail with their Navigation lights ON.

The Float Plan now has a section for what to do in the event of an emergency, which is to call NPR first as they are most likely be able to pick up the distress call for help due to the equipment they have and their range etc.

North Post Radio (NPR) maintains radio coverage (VHF/DSC and HF) effective from the south coast of Grenada to Trinidad and are the best radio contact to use in any emergency en route. (VHF 16, HF 2182 khz). Additional modes of contact are included on the float plan form.

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