Panama, Portobello: Crew Fights Off Assailants

Crew onboard a yacht anchored at Portobello on Panama’s Caribbean coast fought off two armed assailants, after being alerted to the intruders by their dog. The crew have now made a full report to CSSN.

Published 1 year ago

Source:  CSSN

DATE:  2023-03-26 00:30

LOCATION:    Panama – Portobello

EVENT:  Assault


STOLEN ITEMS: Nothing of Value


DETAILS:  PRELIMINARY REPORT – A yacht crew was awoken by their dog when they were boarded by 2 men armed with guns and knives. A fight ensued, and the 3 crew sustained numerous cuts and bruises.

The thieves departed without anything of value. A VHF call for assistance was made, with no response. The local police were called but were slow to respond. No further details are currently available.


Previously CSSN published a /preliminary/ 2nd hand report (3011) about a serious assault that occurred in Portobello, Panama. The victims have provided a full update and the original report now includes important additional information:

At 0015HRS on their second night in the bay, the three crew onboard an anchored monohull were boarded and assaulted by 2 masked/hooded men, one armed with a gun. They awoke to their dog barking as the men entered through the unlocked companionway. A vigorous fight ensued in both the salon and cockpit as the crew attempted to defend themselves with their fists and a winch handle. Two times the masked gunman attempted to discharge his semiautomatic handgun at the crew, but it failed to fire. The two ejected cartridges were recovered later, and showed no dents in the casings.

The 2 assailants abandoned the fight and departed when they realized they were outnumbered and unable to successfully fire their semiautomatic handgun. They had been onboard for about 5 minutes. They jumped into the water, leaving behind the kayak they had stolen earlier from another yacht. The bloodied crew was badly shaken and made multiple calls for help on VHF16, but there was no response. They sounded a loud alarm and began yelling from the deck, but no one anchored or ashore made any response to their calls for help. Phone calls to the police went unanswered. They treated their injuries and waited for daylight.

Later that day a police report was made with assistance ashore from a local business. The crew learned from the police that their website information was incorrect and had not been updated. The yacht departed to Linton Bay where their yacht was searched the next morning by the police with assistance from Aeronaval. No forensics were collected. That night at 2230HRs a large contingent of officers returned with a court order and again searched the victims yacht very thoroughly for several hours. Again, no forensics were collected.

A report was made to the captain’s home country consulate, and the victims departed Panama.

You can review the complete and fully updated report here.


CSSN NOTE:  If you are a victim, please take five minutes to complete the CSSN online incident report, it’s quick, confidential and keeps our cruising community fully and factually  informed.


Cruising boats in Las Perlas, Panama are being advised to leave the area immediately, following a second armed robbery on a yacht within six weeks of another incident, both occurring in the San Miguel area.

See this Noonsite report about the incident which also occurred in late March 2023.

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