Pirates or Terrorists in Mexico (Zihua)? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 05-05-2008
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Pirates or Terrorists in Mexico (Zihua)?

Has anyone come across the recent story about the 100' motoryacht, Besame, nearly being boarded by pirates pretending to be a Mexican Navy Ship? An interesting read, and something I hope keeps others alert and safe.

Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine
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Old 05-05-2008
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That link did not led me to the story.
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scroll to the bottom story and you will see it...

as a bonus, you'll also get to read about how to fend off killer bees.
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Old 05-05-2008
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Sounds like another good reason to have a smaller boat that is less likely to be targeted.
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Old 05-06-2008
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Local gossip about this incident at cruisers bars and on the net, generally concludes that it probably was the Mexican Navy. But the boat owner took the right precautions, in addition to what he did, he could have contacted the Mexican Navy on SSB to confirm the presence of a vessel in those waters.

The opinion of most is that if it was indeed a pirate, a phone call to the US Coast Guard (1,500 miles away?) wouldn't have deterred them from taking the vessel. Rather, the patrol ship decided it wasn't worth the effort and the possible bad press after confirming the subject vessel to be a pleasure yacht.

It's not unusual for police and military to wear some type of ski mask to hide their identity and that of their vessel while on an operation to help prevent reprisals on themselves and their families from the large drug cartels. Even the US Home Security personnel are adopting this practice, as has the ATF for some time.

Are there pirates in Mexico? My answer would be yes, they're called chandleries, boatyards, and other marine supply houses.
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Old 05-06-2008
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Speaking of ski masks; in 1989 we were boarded by three guys on a 30 foot fishing boat all wearing ski masks while anchored off Karamata, a small island off the coast of Borneo. Kitty and our two boys were down below doing school work while I had been on deck doing some maintenance chores, when they came aboard. I began yelling at them to get off my boat and they in turn were yelling back at me in some Indonesian language or dialect I did not understand. About five minutes into the yelling match, Kitty stuck her head out the hatch and handed out three Cokes and a pack of cigarettes. The three men took off their ski masks and with a big smile accepted the Cokes sat down and began to drink. We conversed in sign language for a while and then they got up, brought me over to their boat, opened the hold and loaded me with fresh fish. As they sailed away they all gave me the thumbs up.

Later we learned that many of the fishermen and construction workers in that part of the world wear ski masks to protect their faces from the sun. Two years ago, while we were in the Bahamas, we met a woman who was from that area and she said that where she is from, people don't understand the principal of private property and they couldn't understand why we were angry at them for coming aboard. the first picture below is of the three fishermen while I was on their boat and the second is of another fisherman in Thailand wearing a ski mask.

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Old 05-06-2008
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Different folks, different strokes. I think the biggest challenge of cruising is leaving behind the misconceptions ingrained in us by daily life and unfortunately, the media.
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