Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by AMG, Mar 17, 2005.
Read this... http://www.noonsite.com/Members/doina/R2005-03-14-1
Jeez! Scary stuff! Sounds like a page out of a Clive Cussler book!
You don't realise that this kind of thing actually still goes on, and its a good job they were prepared for it!
This is a long story, but I'll try to keep it short...
Back in the mid-80's, a friend had a 38' Coyote with quad 2.4 Mercs. It ran a very respectable 90 mph, which was very impressive in this era. After hanging new powerheads, he invited me to join him for a "break-in" jaunt to Bimini. (about 50 miles off the coast) The seas were calm in the morning, good for the first hour of break-in, slower to medium speeds, constantly varying RPM's.
We arrived at one of the outer islands of Bimini, I think it was Barracuda Island. Dropped anchor and went looking for lobster. After gigging a few bugs, we swam back to the boat, boarded and began stowing gear for the cruise back.
Looking up, we saw an "all-black", large performance V-hull approaching us from the south. It was moving very fast. As it drew closer, we could see a man STANDING ON THE DECK at 60+ MPH. Needless to say, there was something very wrong with this picture.
This was an amazing curiosity to me. How could a man stand on the deck of a performance boat travelling at speed... in choppy water? My buddy was not as curious... he fired up all four and had us on plane within seconds.
As I look behind, this "black boat" is now following us. The guy is still standing on the deck, but now I can see what he's holding. It's a machine gun! And now I can see how he's able to stand on the deck. He's strapped into a deck mounted stand (similiar to an airplane "wing-walker" harness).
My first thought was... immigration officials? Nope. Pirates!
I wasn't really up to speed on Caribbean Canibals, but my buddy was. He had recently heard about the "Bimini Black Boat" and wasn't sticking around to find out. As the black boat was gaining on us, I could hear "pops". I thought we had engine problems at first. I was wrong. We had bullet holes! Three of 'em on the hull and one went through an engine cowling.
No sooner... we were running Wide Open Throttle and pulling away. The throttles stayed pegged for 20 miles, when the black boat finally broke-off the chase. We continued back to Lauderdale, filed a report with the Coast Guard and I never returned to Bimini.
I was expecting the life of those new powerheads were significantly shortened, but they ran flawlessly for another few years.
Moral of the story... break 'em in like your running for your life!
Glad you survived, I bet they were after your boat and would have dumped you. The most scary stories will never be told I am afraid...
Like all good pirate tales I've heard tell of a different version. It turns out the brazen gunner of "Bimini Black Boat" was in fact a clairvoyant technologist with plans to dominate the future world of online yacht forums. Lucky for us BBB was unsucessful in his dark purpose that day to eliminate the fledgling prince of online yacht forums. They say BBBs gunner ghost still roams out there ranting about how he was robbed of what was rightfully his by the late arrival of the maritime high speed internet access etc. and the one that got away!
On the subject of pirates, I just recieved the following press release...
In children's storybooks, they are daring rogues or fearless adventurers...
In real life, pirates are dangerous criminals that many fear have become increasingly brazen and violent. In 2004, 30 mariners were murdered - half of them in the sea off Nigeria - making it one of the bloodiest years in more than a decade.
Recent attacks in the Malacca Strait in South East Asia has prompted calls for regional governments to take action.
The busy narrow shipping lane between Indonesia and Malaysia carries more than a quarter of the world's trade - and accounts for a quarter of reported attacks worldwide.
Other hotspots are the west coast of Africa and the South China Sea, but piracy has been reported in waters off India, South America, east Africa and the Middle East.
PIRATE ATTACKS WORLDWIDE:
Overall, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) says 325 attacks were reported for 2004, down from the 445 in 2003, possibly due to increased patrols in Indonesia and Malaysia.
But observers say they are concerned at the increasing violence of attacks. Most incidents are "maritime muggings", IMB director Capt Pottengal Mukundan told the BBC News website.
The pirates use small boats with fast outboard motors for opportunistic attacks on prosperous-looking vessels. Bamboo poles are hooked on to a boat and used to climb on board, or ropes are stretched between two boats to trap a vessel.
At the other end of the scale are attacks on large commercial vessels, which are the most profitable targets. "These are quite sophisticated operations, which involve three or four boats from which the attack is launched," Capt Mukundan says. "The people appear very well trained, and very ruthless in getting what they want." Indonesian rebels have been blamed for attacks in the past, but they are no longer seen as the main operators.
The Malacca Strait is notorious for attacks...
"The sophisticated attacks are financed by organised crime groups that have lots of resources - they have the networks through which to sell stolen cargo, and places to keep abducted crew members who are held to ransom," Capt Mukundan says.
In a number of cases, an entire crew of a dozen has been killed, with the pirates assuming their place. In 1998, pirates assumed control of the oil tanker Petro Ranger in the South China Sea and forced the crew to teach them how to operate the vessel. They then made one of their hostages paint over the name of the ship with a new name, and replaced the Singapore flag with one from Honduras.
The tanker sailed to somewhere off the coast of China, where it was drained of its oil. As Chinese officials were about to issue the ship with a new registration - allowing the pirates to sell her for an estimated $16m - the crew were able to alert the authorities.
Smaller vessels are also vulnerable to violence. Greenpeace campaigner and yachtsman Sir Peter Blake, 53, was killed in a pirate raid on his yacht in Brazil in December 2001.
Critics say measures in place to help increase security suffer from lax enforcement. In poor countries, seafarer credentials can be bought cheaply. In small ports, officials often do not bother to verify registration papers. Stolen ships with new identities effectively vanish - becoming known as "ghost ships". Because there has not been an effective deterrent, pirates... are more and more confident
Capt Pottengal Mukundan, director of IMB stated:
Regional sensibilities and tensions also interfere with policing. Indonesian and Malaysian coastguards will not cross into each other's national territory, even if in hot pursuit, says Capt Mukundan. "This plays into the hands of the criminals," he says. The IMB wants governments be more effective in prosecuting pirates.
"Because there has not been an effective deterrent, pirates are encouraged to extend what they are doing - they feel more and more confident," says Capt Mukundan. "It is vital that action be taken by law enforcement agencies to identify the perpetrators of these attacks and have them punished under law."
Mega-yacht costs - $Mns.
6 shot-guns - alot less.
Lives saved: priceless
Piracy, in a number of cases, is a governmental issue. Or, at least a governmental blind eye. Any 3rd world country, shored to sea, is hunting for valuable targets, whether cargo or yachts.
The crown jewel in this sad story is Indonesia. Give this country the widest berth possible.
I will give you a small map to show where the spearpoints of piracy are.
History Channel is currently running "Return of the Pirates" http://www.history.com/shows.do?episodeId=178248&action=detail
I caught sum of the show during my lunch, scary stuff!! I want to see the entire program.
I've gone in and out of Port Harcourt, Nigeria and other parts of West Africa more than a few times over the past few years. I'd place fair money on a bet that those incidents reported are a small portion of the total actuals. The higher value violations may be reported, but many of the smaller ones are just after the vessels for the human traffic trade and the previous owners of the vessels stolen didn't return to shore.
Uninvited Intruders of the Evening
This was a posting on a passagemaking forum that I thought was a rather interesting non-violent deterrent to intruders
Pirates I guess are "criminals at sea". Crime is an issue no matter where you are on land or sea. Just as you don't go to places on land that you know are questionable, do the same at sea.
Most areas have local VHF and/or SSB nets that we alert you to the status of an area. Most of the printed cruising guides are a bit out of date so they are of little real-time value, IMHO.
No matter where you go you must realize that you represent a rich person to those on the sea or those looking from shore. So just your "being" represents temptation to anyone thinking about crossing the line. We try to make as small a footprint as possible to not advertise our presence as a target.
Over the years we have found that cruisers with dogs aboard don't seem to have any problems. It seems that the dogs are a deterrent with their barking and what that implies to any intruder. However, we have decided that cruising with a dog or dogs aboard wouldn't work with us. So how to get the deterrent without the dog?
There are several alarm systems that have either a recorded or synthesized barking dog. Some are simple and others are very complex. We chose to go with the self contained type and have one in the stern and one on the foredeck in "doghouses". Both are proximity types, I think, and work quite well. As does a real dog they bark. Having them bark when you see someone approaching during happy hour and at other times, as would a real dog, lets folks know that they will have to pass the dog(s) in order to get aboard. This seems to be enough deterrent as we've watched many boats approach and when the "dogs" bark they veer away.
We keep the sensitivity a bit higher at night as we want a few random bouts of barking on deck when we are in an isolated anchorage. This may sound like it would annoy ones neighbors but anyone we have talked to comments that they slept better as they knew our "dogs" were on duty!
Get a small safe and hide it well and make sure it is permanently secured to the boat. As you say keep some cash and a few costume jewelry trinkets lying around so that IF the perps get aboard there is some "reward" for them and you may get them to leave. Being a lamb or a lion is always a tough thing to call and usually depends on a quick and accurate assessment of the situation but that is a separate discussion.
We have several hundred watts of exterior lighting that can be turned on from the master stateroom, saloon or pilothouse. It lights up the perimeter around Swan Song and makes daylight out of it. This is a very effective way to discourage crime. We have kept them on all night in a couple of places. A boat approaching cannot see past the perimeter lighting so does not know what or who might be there but certainly knows that there are dogs! We also have a couple of those 10 million candle power hand held spotlights that will burn the retina's right out of a night dilated eyeball
We don't have any firearms as they are way too much of a hassle with customs in most countries. Further having a local dead body aboard will guarantee that your cruising has stopped for a year or two wherever you shot them. If you do plan on shooting make sure their all dead, dump the bodies and get heck out of the country post haste!! Sounds bad but you will be at fault no matter what they did!!
So dogs, light, & hitting the DSC button on the VHF are our current methods. Plus, forget sirens or yelp sounds unless there are other cruisers very nearby. These sounds are ignored by almost everyone. They are mere sounds and represent no deterrent. A barking dog represent a physical barrier to boarding in ones mind
Next time they should consider this:
I remember seeing a presentation on this item on a discovery channel program or history channel. Interesting tech, but probably not practical for small vessels.
Meanwhile, here is another interesting posting on that passagemaker forum;
To put this back in prospective--if you voyage enough there is a reasonable
possibility of all three--and maybe all four--might occur.
I was on a racing boat off Guadelope Island Mx and we hit a container in 1979. (also hit a large log off British Columbia, and a tuna net float in Straits of Gibralter)--none of these sank the boat--but any might have certain boats. (We also ensnared the prop three times in nets or plastics)
We encountered some pirates (drug smugglers who had been known to kill boaters, and take their boats, confirmed by DEA in Panama) in the Southern San Blas Islands--but we were with another boat--both boats kept a watch all night and left in the early AM. This was probably the most dangerous situation we encountered. A native attempted to board in the Grenedines. Our suspician was that he was the same person who attacked another boater. We were boarded several times at night and pilfered things off the deck--and had a 13 foot inflatable dinghy stolen (despite a 125 lb black lab aboard). We had seen drug smuggling off the West Coast Channel Islands, Central America and the Med. We think that we avoided some problems with natives in Central America because of two labs present (another voyage than the one lab)
We had to take evasive action to avoid being run down at least half a dozen times. Several of these were outside of "shipping lanes". Dangerous areas for us were busy converging shipping areas--like the Straits of Messina, Gibralter or Punta Mala Panama. Best to avoid these areas at night. We have several friends who have had collisions with fishing boats. At least one was intentional. One fishing boat attempted to ram us off Mexico.
Rogue waves--? Not really. We have seen some very heavy seas and summation waves, but nothing I would call a rogue wave.
Situational awareness is extemely important. That is being aware of your suroundings and what is going on. (Not necessaryilly as in PM magazine)--The other important issue is keeping calm and cool--having a plan for each situation. Finally avoiding situations if at all possiable. For example, if we had realized what the potential danger was from the group in the S. San Blas, we would have left when the light was good (one cannot navigate reefs after the sun starts to do down). There have been coves where things didn't seem right--and we sailed on. On the other hand, we have followed villagers in their dugouts to their village in perfect safety. One gets a feeling and has to trust that sensation.
Our alarms were mostly trip wire type.--Nothing real sophisticated.
In later years I only deliver on the West Coast, Ca to Alaska. But I have always had a reoccurring fear while sitting in the pilot house. How easy it would be for a fast inflatable to pull up to the swimstep and put off an armed intruder unnoticed. Paranoid? probably. But it comes from about 15 years ago off of Calif. when an inflateable came up in our wake for no reason with 2 ugly guys looking us over. (I won't mention any nationalities). When we jumped to the ready they turned around and headed back in the direction they came from. We watched them until they were out of sight and their direction never changed. They were going home. I mention this because it was obvious they were not merely fishing or whatever.
Good counter measure is to be driving a 36-40' downeast boat with 400-600HP diesel in it. Put her in the corner, and turn 'er around, if it doesnt roll the inflatable over, it'll definitely make a wake for them to remember. Plus a good chance to get away after that at around 25-30 Kn
PS: This is not an advertisement, just stating a fact, to which i was an eye witness. (Rolling over a RIB with a lobster boat)
Another one off the east coast of Africa
Happens quite often in that area.
I hate to make generalisations... but Somalia is one messed up country, about as lawless as can be. I've read countless reports and warnings telling boats of all kinds to avoid going anywhere near that coast... yet some still do.