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Pirates in Costa Rica

Saw this on a different website, sucks, I like his last comments though about what he will do in the future when they are below decks at night.

The Log.com News

Pirate Attack Reported on SoCal Sailboat in Costa Rica

By: Capt. Pat Rains | Wednesday,
October 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM
Last updated: Thursday, October 21, 2010 2:54:00 PM

QUEPOS, Costa Rica -- At least six masked, heavily armed pirates snuck aboard American boater Bruce Stevens' anchored sailboat after dark, restrained all three people aboard with duct tape and wire ties, threatened them with weapons, and then took 90 minutes to loot the boat, he reported this week.

Photo by: mexicoboating.com
Are Boaters Vulnerable? -- The older anchorage areas of Quepos, Costa Rica are now overshadowed by a new marina. However, a U.S. cruising sailboat at anchor here reported being boarded and robbed by six armed men on Oct. 15.

Stevens and his boat partner, Clark Nicholson, were cruising in the region aboard their 50-foot Gulfstar sailboat Two Amigos, out of Dana Point. First word of their plight had to be relayed by S/V Camelot over the Internet, because Stevens' radios and dinghy were stolen in the incident, he said.

In an interview this week with The Log Newspaper, Stevens said he, his girlfriend and Nicholson were belowdecks watching movies, at about 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15, when the attackers struck.

"We were silently boarded by six or more heavily armed bandits carrying shotguns and pistols," Stevens said. "They made a silent entry on a water taxi.

"One of them was on drugs and wanted to kill us waiving a knife and pistol and constantly making threats," Stevens said. "The leader spoke a little English and contained the crazy ones on drugs.

"They also were thinking of raping my El Salvadoran girlfriend, until she told the leader she had four sons who depend on her," Stevens said. "I am a former Marine and could have taken two or three out, but I was worried about my buddy and girlfriend.

"We were duct-taped -- and, because they were worried about me, I received extra tape, plus electrical ties and had two armed guys watching me," he told The Log.

Stevens reported that the pirates stole three computers, cash and all the boat's electronics -- including radar, a chartplotter, two ham radios, an in-dash VHF radio, two handheld VHF radios, a Pactor modem, an inverter, three cell phones, two handheld lights and a copy machine. He estimated the loss at $12,000, and said he has no insurance to cover the theft.

"After they left, we broke free," Stevens said, "and I went ashore in a little dinghy." He said he was able to recover his larger dinghy and its outboard engine from the rocks. "They tried to steal the engine, but it was too heavy."

Stevens said he "made reports to the police and coast guard. The police were cooperative, but I have no faith in their ability to prosecute or recover."

Stevens continued, "it appears the ladrones (thieves) were watching us for two days. They timed it for a high tide just after dark to strike, so they can reenter the estuary. ... It appears they live on an island that the police are afraid to enter."

Estero Boca Vieja, the estuary on the north side of Quepos, is shallow but accessible at high tides. Inside, there is a small boat anchorage and El Coco docks for pangas and excursion boats used by cruise ship passengers, and then miles of uncharted mangrove channels.

South of the estuary is a new breakwater-enclosed marina, Pez Vela, that caters to charter sportfishing boats, cruising sailboats and motoryachts.

On Oct.18, the marina dockmaster said he had not heard of the attack on Two Amigos. The port captain's office was closed for relocation.

South of the marina, Quepos Pier is used by the region's commercial sailfish boats, and south of that is the vast Manuel Antonio National Park, with more beaches and anchorages -- all popular with cruising boaters.

Stevens said he replaced the boat's VHF radio and has already relocated Two Amigos en route to Panama. "The most important thing is that Clark, myself and a guest are still alive -- especially since I gave them a hard time.

"We ... now light the deck up at night, as well as lock ourselves below -- like rats -- to buy time for a mayday and turn on the ship's horn," Stevens said.
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