Yesterday morning at 4 a.m. I was woken by sudden call. It was my friend, who lives with her husband on their yacht, anchored in the Portsmouth area. They had just been robbed, almost beaten to death and neither of them knew the number for the police. I am trying to tell her the number, but realize that in her condition she will not be able to make the call – furthermore find a right words in English to explain what had happened to she and her husband.
Fortunately, I was able quickly get in contact with the Portsmouth police station and alert them of the situation. But I started panicking when the officer told me that they were unable go to the yacht and could only look-on from the on shore. During that time, my friends were trapped on their yacht (because their dingy boat was stolen), beaten, and had no way of reaching onshore for help.
While Chris (my boyfriend) was speaking with the police (because I was about to loose my self-control), she called to inform me that the robbers were on the way back to the yacht and that she was scared. The only thing I could do at the moment is just tell that we got the police and they were on their way.
After a few minutes gone by, I called her againâ€¦ they had found a boat and were heading for the shore. After exchanging few phone calls they finally met up with the police. Her husband speaks who only German, and she who only knows a little bit of English were so traumatized by the whole experience couldn’t even remember the words to say that they were robbed much-less to describe the perpetrators. I briefly described the situation to the policeman and sighed with relief â€“ they were now safe and would receive medical attention.
At the hospital they stitch the scars on her head and gave her anesthesia, because it appears that one of her ribs was broken. Luckily, there was nothing seriously wrong with her husband.
Update: 8 hours later, x-rays confirms that she did suffered a broken rib.
A few hours later, I called her again to check up on their condition and to get a clear understanding on what how exactly happened. She went on to describe to me – that she was suddenly woken by someone putting a shirt over her head and hitting her in the jaw (she said: â€œI am grateful to the Lord, that none of my teeth didnâ€™t come out!â€) and he start to strangle her (â€œI almost though that I will dieâ€). During the robbery, two of the armed men beat them, while the third man searched the yacht for money and other valuable items.
Despite all what had happened, my friends are very grateful too the police officers and the doctors at the Portsmouth hospital for all the sympathy and assistance they gave to them.
This is the second case a of yacht robbery in Portsmouth where the victims were tied and beaten. The first robbery occurred some time in the middle of May of this year; soon after the Portsmouth police along with some dedicated residents of the area started a community watch/security watch-out, that patrols the area close the Portsmouth beach during the night on small fishing boats. Unfortunately, my friends who heard about the first robbery never took the situation seriously. They went ahead and move their yacht closer to the Indian River, and left the yacht open during the night.
Dominica is consider one of the safer islands in the Caribbean, which trends to make visitors let their guard down from time to time, which makes prime targets for criminals. So please, continuing to take all the necessary precautions that you would take on any other island, and always be aware of your surroundings.
Here are some tips that you might find helpful when sailing to Dominica:
1. Get to know the all emergency numbers, for example:
- Dominica Police headquarters in Roseau: 448-2222
- Portsmouth Police station: 445-5222
- Princess Margaret Hospital: 448 â€“ 2231
- Portsmouth Hospital: 445-5237
- Police, Fire, and Ambulance hotline – 999
2. Learn areas where is security patrol for yachts.
3. Padlock or find some an alternative way to secure your dingy boat at nights
4. Close your yacht for the night: donâ€™t leave open doors, windows and etc. This will make it harder for the perpetrators to get in without you knowing.
5. Keep an extra cell phone on the yacht at all times, and learn the emergency (or crisis hotline) phone numbers in the event youâ€™ve to make a call for help.
6. Get a dog â€“ it can alert you in advance about danger.
7. Get something to protect yourself (at least traumatic pistol).
If there is anyone who have more safety tips or ideas on how we can reduce the number of yacht robberies particularly in the Portsmouth area, please share them in the comments below.
Stay Safe….and bye for now!