Nicaragua, Media Luna Cays: Piracy – December 2016

(December 20, 2016) – As reported by CSSN: Piracy

Published 7 years ago, updated 6 years ago

As reported by the Caribbean Safety & Security Net

DATE: 2016-12-20

Country Name: Nicaragua

Location Detail: Media Luna Cays

EVENT: Piracy

Stolen Items: all extra diesel stored in containers, mobile phones, money, clothes, food, fishing equipment, navigation aids, personal effects, various sailing equipment


A yacht owner and friend were sailing a 12m monohull from Bocas del Toro (Panama) to Belize.

Passing 30-40 miles off the shallow coast of Nicaragua, it had been a difficult and tiring trip, so they decided to make a rest stop in the uninhabited Media Luna Cays.

At 10 AM while underway they were approached at high speed by 2 pangas (longboats with outboards), each with 4 men onboard. They seemed friendly initially and asked for a drink, and were given a few beers.

Then suddenly many more boats appeared over the horizon, making thirteen in all, and the intentions of the assembled group became clear. They overwhelmed the yacht and were raucous and menacing while their visible knives remain sheathed. They attempted to “guide” the boat onto the reef where 2 other wrecked boats were visible. When the yacht veered away they became more aggressive and began to ram into the side of the yacht, causing damage to the hull and port lights.

The crew managed to keep sailing as they were boarded by 25-30 men, with another 30 or so men in the remaining pangas. A larger boat with a cabin and radio antenna carried the leader. He boarded and demanded to search the boat for cocaine. The crew negotiated a truce of sorts with the leader and allowed him (only) to search below. Some of the others forced their way below anyway, and along with the many pirates, topsides helped themselves to fuel, food, cash, cell phones, fishing gear, clothing, marine electronics and anything they could remove.

The crew protested when they took gear necessary to their continued travel and in a few cases, it was reluctantly returned by the leader. The leader seemed proud of his control over his assistants and eventually forced them up and off the yacht. He asked for a reward for keeping his word and pointed to a small Wi-Fi speaker, which he was given.

The pirate leader and crew thanked each other and shook hands. The pirates then departed and the crew continued onto Belize, where they made a report to the Cucumber Beach Marina on arrival. They were relieved the pirates had remained non-violent, after not finding the cocaine that they had apparently expected to commandeer.

A courtesy report to the regional British High Commission (consulate) has been made.

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