Brazil, Maragogipe: Armed Night Robbery – March 2018

Report regarding robbery raid on 02.03.18, at anchorage off Maragogipe near Salvador da Bahia, Brazil.

Published 5 years ago, updated 4 years ago

On Friday afternoon, 2 March 2018, I anchored approximately 500 meters off the jetty near the small town of Maragogipe on the Rio Paraguacu near the city of Salvador in the State of Bahia in Brazil.

The intention was to visit the small town market on a Saturday morning. I had not yet gone onto land and my dinghy was lifted out of the water by a line running to the mast top and the engine chained and locked through the rigging and the dinghy held against the rubbing strake.

At approximately 8 pm I heard the sound of a vessel approaching my vessel and went outside onto the deck to investigate.

The small vessel with 3 or 4 persons on board was directly heading for my yacht and I shouted to them to be careful of colliding with my vessel. They came alongside quickly and a man climbed onto my deck and immediately pushed my head down and held a gun to my head.

I managed to stumble along the deck with him still shouting and as I got near the front of the vessel I jumped into the water and dived under the boat and started swimming for the jetty near the shore.

I eventually made it to the jetty and hid under it for some minutes to make sure that they were not pursuing me and then made my way under the jetty to the shore.

I speak a little Portuguese and managed to get a couple to take me to the local police station. After I explained in my broken Portuguese the situation, the police then took me back to the jetty in the police car with three heavily armed policemen. We then used a local fisherman to take us out to my yacht.

The armed policeman then entered the yacht and finding no robbers present said I could enter. The yacht had been ransacked. My dinghy and outboard engine were also gone with the lock smashed and lines cut.

For safety, the police requested that I put the yacht at the end of the jetty for the rest of the night and hire a local guard to help me watch the vessel. This I then did. While we were still on the jetty we spotted a small boat floating by and this was my dinghy stripped of its engine and contents. We asked a fisherman to retrieve it for us and he did so.

I returned to the police station to make a statement.

I wish our report to be put into Noonsite in order to warn all cruisers and discourage them from anchoring at Maragogipe at night. Because of the incident, I will be heading for French Guiana as soon as I have made repairs, so that I am in a position to sail again.

Peter Lohrmann

SV Andromeda Sol (South African)

Salvador da Bahia Brazil

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  1. March 18, 2019 at 1:33 AM
    Data Entry says:

    On about the 14th of April a French couple, who live in Brazil and whose yacht,`Oceanis` is registered in Brazil anchored off a small island, ironically called Ilha dos Franceses, about 1 km from Maragogipe. They were aware of the attack of 2 March.

    (Reported above.)
    About 1 hour after anchoring they were boarded by 5 armed men who proceeded to steal everything of value including the outboard motor and even a spinnaker. Neither owner was physically hurt or injured during the robbery but was obviously extremely traumatized by the incident.

    The similarity to the attack in Maragogipe on the 2 March might indicate the same criminals were involved.
    Brazil is going through a severe economic downturn which is felt more so by the already poor. Crime is reportedly on the increase throughout the country.

    Ron Llewellyn
    ex Australian Yacht `Sula`
    Now a resident of Ilha de Itaparica.