Trouble in Paradise: Yacht Attacks in the Tobago Cays
The Piracy Report covers acts of piracy (in international waters), armed robbery of ships (in territorial waters) and maritime terrorism. Related maritime crimes such as incidents against fishing boats and tugboats are also incorporated in the report and the underlying reasons for incidents are investigated in order create a more complete picture for domain awareness. Below, incidents for July 2017.
JULY 2017: PIRACY REPORT
Independent Global Incident Analysis
It was reported on 22 June 2017 that three men arrested for the violent assault and robbery on a British yacht, Deep Blue in the Tobago Cays, St Vincent & the Grenadines on 25 May 2016, will not be prosecuted for the offence as the police failed to collect evidence from the scene. The men are Ulrick Hanson, Jordon Forde and Joe Lewis, all of Mayreau.
Two masked men, one armed with a gun and the other with a knife boarded the yacht of Christopher Mennem and his wife Sandra, and demanded money. Chris Mennem was hit several times with a torch on the head. The intruders took EC$500 (US$185) from Mennem’s wallet but refused to except that this was all the money on board. Sandra Mennem gave them old cell phones and they took the handheld radio. It was reclaimed in a tussle as they left the boat. Chris Mennem sustained head and face injuries and fractured ribs. A third suspect waited in a stolen fishing boat used as a getaway vessel.
Jordon Forde can be linked to two previous incidents on yachts, and Ulrick Hanson to one. Forde was arrested and confessed to the robbery on the yacht Aliza, on 7 August 2012. The captain, who chartered the vessel was on land having dinner at the time. Some of the money stolen was recovered from a family member of Forde. He received a jail sentence of 9 months. The co-accused, Jason Alexander, received six months.
In a third incident on the yacht Mendocino Queen on 2 July 2011 the crew were also assaulted. Except for these three incidents several other incidents in the Tobago Keys have the same pattern. Yachts were approached at night often when the owners went ashore for dinner. The robbers were armed and wore masks. Crew were often assaulted.
The Mayreau harbour patrol boat is often not in operation due to a lack of funds to buy fuel. The operation and repairs of the patrol boat are highly dependant on contributions from residents and businesses of Mayreau and the Marine Park.
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