Brazil, Fortaleza: Violent Attack by armed assailants – February 2015

February 2015: Barely an hour after arriving and anchoring off the marina at Fortaleza, a violent attack was made on the yacht ‘Windjammer’

Published 9 years ago, updated 5 years ago

We arrived in Fortaleza, Brazil at 04:00 on the 2nd of February 2015.

We anchored off the marina and an hour later at 5 am three knife-wielding bandidos tried to board us. Fortunately, one of our crew members was still up and about and heard them approaching. They used a wooden boat with a single oar sculling up to us from upwind. They tried climbing up the topsides shouting “Pirata’ Pirata” but we were able to fend them off with a stout wooden boat hook landing some heavy blows on them. They were very aggressive constantly stabbing at us with large 10″ kitchen knives even though we were armed with similar knives.

They eventually gave up trying to board us and instead stabbed holes in our inflatable dingy that was still up in the davits.

We moved to the marina at sunrise reporting our close shave with the other cruisers only to be told that a French yacht anchored out with two guys onboard had been robbed of all their electronics and money the night before.

In Summary –  We were very lucky to have intercepted the pirates before they boarded if they had got below decks in the dark it would have been a very different story.

PS: Keep well clear of the wreck of the marina break wall as it is nowhere near its charted position and a lot of the wreckage is below water. Stay closer to the break wall on approach.

The marina is in very poor condition and is very hard on your boat.

All in all, Fortaleza is probably a place to avoid.

Ashley Kerr

Schooner Windjammer



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  1. March 18, 2019 at 2:23 AM
    Data Entry says:

    As far back as 2000, I can remember reading warnings that to anchor ANYWHERE, other than in the marina at Forteleza was to invite being boarded and robbed. Not that you might, but that you will.

    I cannot understand why captains continue to ignore these warnings.
    Similarly, I see in the Port of Salvador, boats continue to anchor outside the confines of the two marinas, even though warnings are issued. Whereas in Salvador you may get away with it – in Forteleza you won’t.

    I can only assume these people do not know about ‘Noonsite’ – until after the event.

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