Honduras, Roatan, Port Royal: Armed Boarding, Assault & Robbery – July 2012

Published 11 years ago, updated 4 years ago

I wish to report the following incident that happened on July 2, 2012 @ 0100, while anchored in Port Royal, Roatan.

I was awakened to the sound of a small skiff beating up against the boat (we have a 60ft monohull). They came to the main hatch to declare they were the police and to open up.

I opened the hatch up and then was assaulted by 2 armed men, ages 18-22. One with a 12 gauge and one with a pistol. After a brief struggle, I was pistol-whipped about the head, and then a 3rd older man, age around 30s’, came into the boat. While I was held down, they brought my fiance into the room. After being forced to open the safe, we were both tied up and then they ransacked the boat for about 30 minutes, without turning on any lights. As they left, they gagged us and then fled.

We were able to get untied and send out a MAYDAY over the VHF. We found out that the white skiff was seen heading east.

We checked on our buddy boat, less than 200 ft away, they were fine and hadn’t heard a thing.

We did contact the police that night, they said they were coming after they woke the Mayor, and had to see if they had a boat that would run, and had gas. They never showed. They required us to drive to Coxen Hole. We spoke with Clinton Everett, Asistente Alcalde, he was helpful and arranged an interpreter to accompany us to the police department in Coxen Hole. We got the impression that the police were very not terribly interested and had no intention of heading to the eastern end of the island to investigate. We also filed a report with the Embassy.

Lessons learned:

  • Nights of high illumination and high wind make it very easy for assailants to sneak up on the boat. They hear and see you, but you cannot hear them.
  • The local authorities assured me that at no time would they sneak aboard a yacht at anchor in the middle of the night. If they had to visit a boat for some reason at that hour, they would come with lights and sirens and make a radio call on approach.
  • When there are armed intruders onboard your boat, it is unreasonable to expect your buddy boat or anybody else to do anything until it’s over.
  • Inquire from other cruisers and locals, of gang activities or robbery prone areas to stay away from, if you are planning on stopping.


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