Indonesia: Crew kidnapped after yacht was hijacked in Strait of Lombok – or were they?
The yacht “Faraway” was reported hijacked to the Indonesian police on October 28, 2015, in the Bali island area. News reports at the time stated that there were two Germans on board, including owner Diana Christa Lorens. “Faraway” was reported to be a 20-meter yacht on around the world trip.
Published 7 years ago, updated 4 years ago
There is much discussion about this supposed “kidnapping” on the Cruisers Forums, in particular after the tragic Samal incident a few weeks previously. It does appear however that many of the facts reported by the maritime press were inaccurate and the real story is something much less sinister.
See the thread on Cruisers Forum and comments posted on noonsite below.
It has been confirmed that crew member (not the owner) Diana, is now safely in Christmas Island.
Original report by Maritime News: http://www.newsmaritime.com/ [Broken Link]
The German yacht Faraway was hijacked in the Straits of Lombok off Bali Island, Indonesia.
The yacht, with two people on board, was on around the world trip, when it was attacked by armed pirates in the Java Sea. The pirates took control of the vessel and headed in an unknown direction, kidnapping the German citizens on board.
The yacht crew succeeded in sending a text message to their families who witnessed the pirates using violence and atrocities over them. No ransom request has been sent and the Indonesian Police and German Embassy have hidden the incident until now in order to follow an investigation and find the yacht.
Until now the German yacht Faraway has not been found.
“We have ordered carry out search tasks to the maximum and to investigate the accident”, said a representative from the Indonesia Police Department. “We understood about the accident from a text message from a passenger on board. The owner of the yacht, Diana Christa Lorens, made a short call to her family, but after that, they communicated only by text messages”, finished the spokesman of Indonesia Police Department.
The 20m vessel was about to call into Bali, but on a route through the Straits of Lombok was hijacked.
I have sailed with John in the past on two occasions. He is a competent sailor and good when things get difficult. I am surprised by the allegations of naked sailing because I found him a modest man.
Users of the Cruisers Forum have collectively worked together to try and find out what was really going on with this bogus news report (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f106/yacht-faraway-hijacked-near-bali).
Excerpts from the Forum:
– A boat named ‘Faraway’ left Samal Oceanview Marina the day prior to the terrorist attack here. The owner John is a very experienced Alaskan sailor with more than a hundred thousand miles under his keel and he frequently undertakes long ocean crossings.
His boat ‘Faraway’ is a William Gardner version of a Colin Archer 38′ Ketch. I met John on Saturday prior to his departure. He was intending to transit from Mindanao through Indonesia and on to South Africa. As far as I am aware he had a German Girl as crew and her name was Diana.
– I have been in contact with the organisers of the Sail Indonesia Rally. They have confirmed that no boat named ‘Faraway’ has been issued a CAIT. This would not be unusual for John as he did not intend to cruise in Indonesia.
– Further, Diana may have been making calls and sending text messages about the Samal kidnappings which were wrongly interpreted to mean their vessel was under attack.
– Confirmed with Findacrew this Diana now on Christmas Island who got off Faraway after sailing aboard John Williams monohull from Davao is the person in question.
It might appear the above report was erroneous.
The Fremantle Sailing Club has received some first-hand feedback from a fellow sailor regarding this. Here is the story as conveyed by the cruising forum……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
For those who have Facebook accounts, there was a discussion about this in the FSC Cruising Facebook Group. Hugh Nankivell (Hillary’s member and Christmas Island enthusiast/part-time inhabitant/sales-person) tells a very different version of this story (which he says is based on a first-hand account from the vessel owner) that goes like this:
“It is amazing what rubbish is dished up in some of these media outlets. These are the facts about the yacht “Faraway”:
The yacht arrived several weeks ago at Christmas Island. It is a Colin Archer-designed ketch. Owner John … , an American from Alaska in his late-70s, doing his fourth world circumnavigation on this boat. On arrival, he was interviewed by C.I. Police over claims of hostage-taking and sexual harassment.
Over coffee at our home, John’s story was that a German lady Diana … (also in her 70s) answered his advertisement on the “Find a Crew” website. She agreed to sail to Madagascar. He agreed to refund her airfare when they arrived. The relationship broke down after a few days at sea. Her mental state deteriorated due in part to his practice of sailing naked.
(At this point I have to say, he is a very unattractive man. Just a couple of hours with this guy would freak me out. ) He refused to let her off the boat in the Lombok Strait, even when they were just a couple of miles from the beach at Bali.
The police found he had no case to answer, and he was free to go on his way. The lady was taken into a women’s refuge. An appeal was started to raise money for her airfare to Perth. I don’t know how much was raised, but neither of them attracted much sympathy from the locals.
This should serve as a warning for people about entering these arrangements through websites and not properly assessing what they are getting themselves into.”