Cape Verdes, Ihla de Santiago, Porto da Praia: Armed Boarding and Robbery – January 2020

After arrival in the Cape Verdes and visiting the ports of Sal and Boa Vista, this cruising catamaran arrived late in the day at Praia, the largest city in the Cape Verdes and a busy commercial and fishing harbor. Within a short time of their arrival they were boarded by armed men who threatened and robbed them.

Published 3 years ago

The victims were the only cruising boat at anchor in the harbor, approximately 300ft from shore. Having set the anchor, they retired down below for dinner deciding to check-in the following day as it was late.

At approximately 20:00 the boat was boarded by 3 men who burst into the catamaran’s main cabin through the door surprising the crew who had heard nothing. Clearly they had swum from shore and silently boarded the boat while the crew were having dinner.

The 3 men were armed with long, serrated assault knives and appeared to be high on drugs. They made it clear that if the crew did not co-operate they would use their weapons. The crew were held at knife point around the saloon table.

All 3 intruders rummaged through lockers in the main cabin, taking mainly cash and electronics, but did not venture down below into either pontoon of the catamaran. All the time they threatened the crew. The 3 intruders were on board for no more than 20 minutes.

They left in the yacht’s dinghy (although with oars as they could not work out how to unlock the engine) with all the communication devices they could find including cellphones, iPads, radios, computers, as well as cash and other personal items.

One device that did not get taken was a Garmin Inreach, which the crew then used to send out an SOS. They then raised the anchor and motored into the commercial harbor to seek help. The incident was reported to local police and the US Embassy in Praia.

The police were reported to be slow to respond, but once they understood the seriousness of the incident, responded well. The incident occurred on a Thursday night and by Saturday, they had apprehended the suspects and had recovered much of the stolen equipment.

Facts taken from a first-hand report by the victims.

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