News 06 Jul, 2011

Venezuela - Robbery of Anchored Vessels off Puerto la Cruz

Club Correspondent Venepandi, Caracas, have advised that anchored vessels are being subject to acts of robbery off Puerto la Cruz.

Vessels have been boarded and robbed when anchored in the vicinity of Barcelona City during the hours of darkness. The robbers are taking advantage of the remote location of the anchorage which is situated well away from the port, populated areas and naval assets, and a lack of onboard vigilance.

Crew members have been threatened with high calibre firearms, gagged and beaten.

It is reported that vessels proceeding to the oil terminal in Jose and other facilities in the area are being ordered by Port Control to anchor off Barcelona City. If such an instruction is received, Venepandi advise that the Master should decline and proceed to anchor on the eastern side of Bahia de Pozuelos, in the vicinity of Guaraguao, off Puerto la Cruz city.

In addition, Venepandi recommends that the following precautionary measures are taken:

  • Maintain an anchor watch with a lookout on the bridge and ideally on the main deck at all times.
  • Be alert to the presence of small local fishing boats which do not appear to be fishing, with many persons onboard.
  • So far as possible, illuminate the area around the vessel with flood lights.
  • Ensure that hawse pipe covers are fitted in place and secured.
  • Raise accommodation ladders and pilot ladders to main deck level when not in use.
  • Keep a good radar lookout for approaching small craft, particularly during the hours of darkness.
  • If a small craft is detected:
    • shine a searchlight or the daylight signalling lamp on the boat to indicate that it has been seen and that its movements are being monitored.
    • use the whistle to warn them off and alert other vessels in the area. The local port authorities recommend that a signal consisting of five prolonged blasts, with an interval of one second between each is sounded, with an interval of approximately 10 seconds between successive signals.
  • If boarding is threatened or attempted, alert the local Harbour Master and the vessel’s local port agent by the most expeditious means. If this is unsuccessful, call the local P&I Correspondent for assistance. The contact details of all such parties should be kept readily to hand.
  • If robbers succeed in boarding the vessel, obey their instructions and do not resist. In addition to the robbers being armed, they are often under the influence of drugs and may be aggressive.
  • In the event of a robbery, report the incident to the local P&I Correspondent and instruct them to notify the local authorities, the National Guard and the army.

Members requiring further guidance should contact the Loss Prevention department.