US Virgin Islands, St. Croix: Boarded by pirates, shot and robbed – January 2016

Published 7 years ago, updated 4 years ago

DATE: 2016-01-16 11:00

Country Name: USVI

Location Detail: St Croix south shore (1.5 miles offshore)

EVENT: Piracy

Stolen Items: electronics, cash


On January 14, 2016, a French single-hander, en route from South Carolina (USA) via the Bahamas to Guadeloupe (where he was to meet his wife who was flying there), stopped to rest overnight in a protected anchorage on the southwest coast of St. Croix. He anchored inside Ruth Island off Limetree Bay where there are an oil refinery and container port – he had hoped to find some fuel.

The following morning he left the anchorage at 10:30. Thirty minutes later when he was 1.5 miles offshore, under power, he was approached by a big fishing boat and in an act of piracy boarded by 2 of 3 young men.

The men aggressively threatened him, shouting “drugs, money” and punched him in the face and then stabbed/slashed his lower left leg with a machete. They forced him to go down below and open his safe and bring up money. In the cockpit, when it “wasn’t enough” they then shot him in the right thigh at close range, shattering his femur and severely wounding him. He told the doctors later it was a military or police-­style weapon.

The captain was then left on the floor of his drifting boat when the men departed.

The captain, although bleeding profusely and in severe pain, was able to manoeuvre his boat back into the industrial harbour alongside a tug. He tossed shells, winch handles, etc. at the side of the tug. It took about 45 minutes before he was able to get the attention of anyone on the much larger tug. A tug crewmember eventually investigated the unusual noises and then summoned the police and ambulance. The victim was transported to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery for his serious injuries, some 3 hours after the initial attack.

The boat was put in the care of the police and later hauled for storage. After a period of hospitalization, the victim was stabilized and then returned to France, where he remains hospitalized after additional surgeries.

Editor’s Note: We would like to thank the Good Samaritan who assisted the victim with communications and translated a first-person report from French. Due to the nature of this horrific attack and the seriousness of her husband’s injuries, the wife left for France feeling frightened and overwhelmed and did not make any reports before leaving.

CSSN Note: CSSN suggests that anyone who finds themselves in a serious situation while outside their home country, particularly if not able to speak the local language, make or request contact with the closest of their home country Consular Services/Embassy. Consular officials can assist with a variety of helpful emergency resources, including qualified translators, communications with family/friends as well as with all of the appropriate local officials.

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  1. February 23, 2019 at 2:08 AM
    Data Entry2 says:

    As an American who just spent three months in Martinique and sailed through the French Indies feeling totally safe, I apologize for these bad apples.