Saturday, April 26, 2014

Piracy in Panama, Beware

The following article courtesy of Noonsite, incidence of piracy
 and the Cruisers forum

By Sue Richards — last modified Apr 25, 2014 06:22 PM
This nasty incident occurred over a month ago, on March 15th 2014, however it’s taken some time to get the facts clear and verified before reporting. The boat owners who made the report have asked to remain anonymous, however they are keen to warn other Panama cruisers of the possible dangers in this area.

Published: 2014-04-25 00:00:00

Topics: Piracy 

Countries: Panama 

File photo, not the boat in the article

“This morning at 02:30 our vessel (a private cruising yacht on a circumnavigation) anchored at Taboga Island, off Balboa, Panama City, was attacked by three pirates.

“The Captain heard voices beside the boat as we slept and went up into the cockpit. One of the pirates had come aboard whilst being warned not to very loudly by the Captain, waking the other crew members. Five shots were fired from a 26' vessel (approx) with a black rub rail nearly as high as our freeboard, but none injured our crew despite holes in the fibreglass top sides just inches from where the Captain stood. They appeared young, fit and organised and they were intent on robbery at the very least.

“We were at anchor with no one else in sight, close to shore in the cut between the two islands. We had arrived at 17:00 the day before and had not been ashore.

“We responded to defend ourselves and the pirates were overwhelmed by the response. The one who had boarded jumped back into his boat when he realised they had underestimated the situation and they fled. There were no other incidents that night as far as I know.

“We left the anchorage immediately and went back too Las Playita de Amador”.

Editor’s Note: This incident took place near the southern end of Taboga Island in an isolated area, not at the Taboga mooring field. Nowhere in Panama should yachts anchor at night in remote areas without being accompanied by other yachts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Found Sailboat In Australia Not Likely Schooner Nina

There has been a lot of hype about a mast caught in a fishing rig in the Timor Sea being from the missing schooner, Nina that disappeared on the Eastern coast of Australia in the Tasman Sea.  Part of that hype is a well written story from the Herald Sun News, Northern Territories, a publication with a sterling reputation, which does nothing more than sensationalize the remotest of possibilities the sunken yacht found in the Timor Sea is the Nina.  If the author had been doing her homework, she would have printed a more accurate headline, "Timor Sea Find Not Likely Nina".

"Not really, we are just trying to sell papers"

Sensationalist stories have hurt the Nina search before.  One of the most famous stories suggested the Nina was in horrible condition.  The authority upon whom the writer relied had never been aboard the Nina.  In fact, the authority for the story is not a shipwright, hence not in a position to make official statements about what condition the Nina is in.  Few people know, a survey was completed in 2012 in which the Nina was found to be "a sound yacht".  That story has never been made public.

The story in the Herald Sun, Northern Territories, also speaks about how massive the search for the Nina was.  If you repeat something enough times people begin to believe it.  While the search for the Nina was large, the families say there were massive errors in the search, another fact not well reported.  There is a significant likelihood the search missed the Nina and her crew because of those errors.  

The families ask all people to keep a sharp eye out for a boat lying low in the water, as well as wrecks on remote islands and reefs, debris and flotsam.  At one time that request was for boats in the Northern Tasman Sea.  Considering the currents and passage of time, the Nina could be about anywhere.

Whangarei Harbor

Authorities have been closed mouthed about the details of the mast found in the Timor Sea.  The information I have I am not at liberty to disclose at this time.  Suffice it to say, the mast found was very distinct and does not sound like it came from the missing schooner, the Nina, according to sources.  Is it possible the Nina crew found a floating wreck and salvaged a mast?  Sure, but not very likely.

We encourage the Herald Sun News, Northern Territories, and all publications to focus on things that have the potential to help the missing crew and their families.  The families have their hands full doing what authorities from many countries should have done.  Putting out sensationalist fires makes their efforts more difficult.  The truth may be just as sensational, but it is going to take someone with a lot of moxy to bring it forth.

Anything, of course, is possible.  Until divers can check the ocean floor to verify there is, in fact, a boat, and the mast was not simply blown overboard and snagged on the bottom, no one can say for sure what authorities will find.  However, speculation the found mast is the Nina is likely sensationalist journalism to sell papers and does an unjust service to the Nina sailors and their families.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

They Look For The Airliner But Not The Nina?

It is time for change.  Please sign the petition.  Ask the good boy's network to bring the crew of the Nina home!

If we told the whole Nina story, the public would be shocked.  So would some officials who, so far, have refused to lift a finger to save seven valiant lives aboard the schooner Nina.

Breaking news coming soon regarding the sunken boat found in the Timor Sea.