Honduras: Piracy on passage from Puerto Cortez, Honduras to Roatan – January 2017

(January 13, 2017) – As reported by CSSN: Piracy

Published 7 years ago, updated 5 years ago

DATE: 2017-01-13

Country Name: Honduras

EVENT: Piracy

Stolen Items: Handheld electronics, wall mounted TV, RIB dinghy and outboard, cash, alcohol, dive gear, passports

SECURED: Not Locked

DETAILS:

A US-flagged sailing yacht with the owner/captain and 1 Canadian crew member aboard departed Puerto Cortez for Roatan. After 10 hours of sailing in strong easterlies and current they had made 13 miles of easting and were 5 miles off the coast.

At sunset, they were approached and boarded from the west by a panga with 8 men on board, with weapons drawn. The two pirates armed with semiautomatic guns immediately took control of the captain, who quickly made it clear he would comply with their wishes. Two men remained in the panga, while the 4 remaining pirates began pilfering the boat, roughing up the female crew member as she retrieved the demanded cash.

During the 15 minutes they were ransacking the yacht, the pirates took handheld electronics, a wall mounted TV, cash, alcohol, dive gear, and passports, as well as the RIB dinghy/outboard which was launched off the deck. The pirates departed to retrieve the dinghy and the yacht continued onward to Roatan. The captain believes his compliant and non-threatening posture prevented injury or worse.

After a difficult night with limited navigation and communications capability, their radio call was answered by a US Navy surveillance aircraft, that then overflew them and arranged for a continued airborne escort to Roatan. The US Navy had arranged a warm welcome and official reports were made to the police, port captain and Honduran coast guard. The supporting consulates provided additional assistance with communications and passport replacement.

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