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Two Incidents of Armed Piracy In The Caribbean In The Last 10 Days


    Modern-day pirates of the Caribbean

PORT OF SPAIN – Two incidents of armed piracy against sailing vessels reported in the Caribbean in the last 10 days have prompted an Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) warning.

OCC Commodore John Franklin has issued an alert to vessels sailing in waters between Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada.

In the last 10 days there have been reports of two incidents of piracy against sailing vessels north of Trinidad. Both took place in daylight and involved local (assumed Venezuelan) 18-20 ft pirogues with powerful outboard engines (120-130 HP).

Each craft had five or six pirates aboard, several of them armed with assault rifles and each craft carried a spare powerful outboard and additional fuel in barrels.

“The OCC Port Officer in Trinidad, Jesse James, is heavily involved with the Trinidad and Tobago Government, the Coast Guard, the Yacht Service Association of Trinidad and Tobago (YSATT), the Ministry of Tourism and other bodies to combat this threat,” Franklin said.

In each case the sailing vessel was boarded by armed pirates and the boat ransacked for valuables.

Stolen items included cash, passports, boat papers, cell phones, watches, computers, other electronics and clothing.

Fortunately, there were no injuries or loss of life.

“I am making representations to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of the OCC and the cruising community at large,” the commodore said. “OCC Roving Rear Commodore John Lytle has also been advising on this dangerous situation unfolding as the year comes to a close.”

Reports of each incident as well as a report of a meeting of the YSATT which contains Coast Guard advice on communications and passage planning can be found on the OCC Forum.

“The OCC is doing everything possible to combat this new threat together with the Trinidadian authorities,” Franklin said.

Boaters are urged to consider these events when sailing in these waters.

Also, please log in to the OCC Caribbean SSB Net for updates.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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