Indonesia, Papua Barat Province, Sorong harbour: Night boarding and theft – January 2017

Published 7 years ago, updated 5 years ago

DATE: 2017-08-01

Country Name: Indonesia, Papua Barat Province

Location Detail: Sorong harbour, near Soff island 

EVENT: Night boarding and theft

Stolen Items: Laptop computer and 2 mobile phones; outboard motor


Husband and wife owners were asleep below in the port hull of a small sailing catamaran. There were no other crew on board and the vessel was at anchor several kilometres from other vessels in the harbour and about 200m from the eastern end of Pulau Soff.

The thieves boarded the boat, entered the hull cabin via a deck hatch, removed a computer and 2 mobile phones and then left. The couple, although asleep in the same hull space, only became aware of the theft in the early morning.

The theft was reported to local water police (PolAir) with no result or recovery of the items.

The same vessel had it’s outboard motor was stolen 3 weeks earlier while at anchor in Sorong Harbour. As is often the case with this type of theft, the dinghy was recovered floating and abandoned – without the motor.

Some lessons learned:

  • It may be that groups of young people who paddle out to yachts to “say hello” and sometimes request photos with yacht owners are in fact “casing” the boat for easily stolen items. Best to come up with a good excuse for not inviting people on board – e.g. “ newly painted deck” and so forth.
  • Once an item has been stolen there is virtually no chance of recovering it via the police system. Police boats are inactive and the harbour is 10km long.
  • Securing outboards with a security cable is helpful, but not the whole answer.
  • So far thefts have not been accompanied by direct confrontation or threats of violence.
  • Good lighting at night is a deterrent.
  • The best deterrent is to have people on board and for them to be visible.

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