For Immediate Release from the Ocean Cruising Club:
January 2, 2016
Two incidents of armed piracy against sailing vessels reported in the Caribbean in 10 days
United Kingdom – 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 5 or 6 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,” reported Commodore Franklin. “I am making representations to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago on behalf of the OCC and the cruising community at large. OCC Roving Rear Commodore John Lytle has also been advising on this dangerous situation unfolding as the year comes to a close. The OCC is doing everything possible to combat this new threat together with the Trinidadian authorities.”
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. 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. Please consult this advice if sailing in these waters. Also, please log in to the OCC Caribbean SSB Net for updates.
About the Ocean Cruising Club
The Ocean Cruising Club exists to encourage long-distance sailing in small boats. A Full Member of the OCC must have completed a qualifying voyage of a non-stop port-to-port ocean passage, where the distance between the two ports is not less than 1,000 nautical miles as measured by the shortest practical Great Circle route, as skipper or member of the crew in a vessel of not more than 70ft (21.36 m) LOA; associate members are committed to the achievement of that goal. This standard distinguishes the OCC from all other sailing clubs. It’s not about what you are or who you know, but simply what you have done, that matters.
Our membership as a whole has more experience offshore than any other sailing organisation – in the number of circumnavigators, in the range of extraordinary voyages members have completed, and in the number of solo sailors and female sailors among our ranks. This is what sets us apart from other organisations, even as it draws us together as a group. We bring the spirit of seafaring to our association by always being willing to assist any fellow sailor we meet, either afloat or ashore.
With a central office in the UK, though it has no physical clubhouse, the OCC is, in a way, the “home port” for all of us who have sailed long distances across big oceans. With 48 nationalities and Port Officers in as many countries, we have a more diverse membership and a more international reach than any other sailing organisation. Our Port Officers and Regional Rear Commodores represent the frontline interaction with our existing members and the recruitment of new members.
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