More Warnings Received about Paita, Peru – 2012

Published 11 years ago, updated 3 years ago

Yet another Cruiser has a bad experience at Paita. This port should be avoided.

Posted 25th January 2012

I recently was forced to Paita to check damage to the hull after a collision with a tree trunk. At midnight we were robbed of fuel tanks on deck and fishing equipment. Half an hour later six armed men boarded and robbed us of cash, electronics and proceeded to tie us up. I resisted and made a mayday call on the VHF. They were spooked and left. No attempt by local authorities to search or recover, very bad feeling about the authorities.

Craig McAdams

Posted 4th February 2011

I had somewhat the same experience in Paita, Peru as reported by Sequitur, though the pirate nature was bolder than described.

I went to Paita on the recommendation of a cruiser at Puerta Luica in Ecuador, as I needed to check out and in to reset the customs clock in Ecuador.

I had four “officials” show up in a launch just after I arrived, banging on the hull and very aggressively demanding payments. The payments were to be on the spot, and in cash, for a variety of “services”.

I was as nice as I could manage and explained that I would have to get to an ATM in town before I could pay them. They eventually left, with a promise to return with a launch at 7 am in the morning.

I quietly pulled the anchor and drifted out during the night, sweating it all the way. I was definitely a target.

Two of the officials were in uniform and from the office of the port captain. In the single bit of kindness of the experience, one of them passed me a note (which I now have framed) saying: “You go carefully. Much men bad here, they robe and kill”

Needless to say, I add my voice to the warning to avoid Paita…and it turned out that the cruiser who recommended the place had a wife from Paita and essentially the status of a local.

Rick Joyce

S/V Indecisive

now calmly in the South Pacific

Posted 25th January 2011

Paita is a well-protected but filthy harbour full of hundreds of mostly wooden fishing vessels, many sitting in their own oil slicks and sewage. The smells and noise from the fish loading and processing plants are overpowering. The anchorage has a very foul bottom, covered with discarded lines, nets and other jetsom.

There is a known extremely high crime rate here. Clear all items from deck, including life raft, life buoys, boathooks, sail sheets, anchors not in use. Hoist dinghy and secure with lock and chain. If possible, maintain a 24-hour deck watch. There are many ATMs in the centre of town. BE VERY CAREFUL: All ATMs we saw had a line-up of eight or ten people waiting for the machines. We were always quickly promoted up the line to its head. All the PIN view guards were broken off. It appears that most of the people in the line-up were criminals-in-waiting, watching for an opportunity.

We strongly recommend not stopping here, but continuing on to Callao, if southbound or into Ecuador if heading north. If you must stop here, you will need an agent to clear in. DO NOT USE Liliana Huancayo nor her company, Port Logistics. She charged US$983 for an incomplete clearance, the entire cost of which should have been S/598, about US$215. We had our dinghy and motor stolen while we were clearing in, and our decks were stripped of all safety and deck equipment. The water taxi Liliana then organized for us wanted to charge US$240 for shuttling us the quarter mile to and from our boat eight times.

Another boat we later met in La Punta reported having had their dinghy and motor stolen as they anchored overnight near Paita while in transit from Ecuador to Callao, Peru. Another boat reported having an engine failure and being towed into Paita by the Guardia Costera, then later being fined for not reporting to the Guardia Costera their arrival in Paita.

The following blog post gives full details on our visit in May 2010:

Michael Walsh

Yacht Sequitur

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