Incidents of Piracy have been reported in the regions surrounding Puerto la Cruz & Barcelona City anchorages off the north coast of Venezuela. We understand support in such circumstances is limited.
Vessels awaiting a berth in Jose or another oil terminal in the area are requested, by the Port Authority to proceed to the anchorage in the vicinity of Barcelona City. It is advised that if possible ships do not anchor here but instead anchor in the Bahia de Pozuelos, in the area of Puerto la Cruz city.
It has been reported that in the anchorage off Barcelona City bandits climb aboard the vessels at anchor. These bandits take advantage of the darkness of the night, lack of vigilance, and that the area is away from any population, harbour and naval bases.
There have already been cases in which the crews have been gagged, threatened with high calibre weapons and crewmembers have been beaten.
We understand that these bandits are armed and extremely violent. It is considered that they are willing in to kill in order to get what they want.
Suggested actions are:
1) Always anchor in the Bahia de Pozuelos, near the site of Guaraguao, in front of the city of Puerto la Cruz. NOT off Barcelona City
2) Continuous security rounds of the main deck should be carried out and also a good radar watch kept.
3) Use the ship’s spot lights to spot close approaching boats to show to them that they have been spotted.
4) If the vessel comes under attack, at once inform the harbourmaster and shipping agency, if no answers call the P&I representative.
5) If the boat, or boats do not back down, use the ship’s whistle to warn of attack.
6) If Pirates or bandits do manage to board the vessel, offer NO resistance as assailants are generally armed and tend to be very aggressive.
7) Report to the local P&I correspondent for help to contact and deal with the national guards, army etc.
The Club’s correspondent is working together with the local authorities to attempt to stop this scourge which is intensifying. The port captaincy is passing instruction to vessels in the area to use a signal so that other vessels are notified. Signal is as follows
Five long blasts of the ship’s whistle at intervals of one second for every blast, and repeat after 10 seconds to start again.
The boats used by the bandits are often small fishing vessels with many persons onboard. These vessels do not act in the manner of a vessel engaged in fishing.
For the latest information Members should contact their local agent.