Maritime Executive Reports – The product tanker Tosna Star was boarded and robbed by armed pirates off the port of Port-au-Prince, Haiti last Sunday, according to one of her crewmembers.
In an account posted on Facebook, crewmember Claudio Omar Benitez said that the Argentine crew of the Tosna Star has been stuck on board for months due to the novel coronavirus, unable to return to their homes. Their ship is currently at the anchorage off Port-au-Prince, and on Sunday, a group of armed Haitians boarded the tanker by the stern.
“They came up aggressive, armed with machetes and knives. They took the sailor on duty by surprise, taking advantage of the darkness of the moment, they [threatened him with a machete] and nervously asked him in his language to give them the phone and everything he had in his possession at that time,” wrote Benitez.
The robbers proceeded to do the same with two other crewmembers. An oiler spotted the robbery in progress and sounded the alarm, waking up the rest of the crew. “For all this, the officers are on the bridge, except for the captain, who locked himself in his cabin, frightened and in a panic attack,” asserted Benitez.
After the alarm was sounded, the attackers departed with the stolen goods using small boats. As a precautionary measure, the bridge team decided to raise anchor and leave the area.
“We will never forget this night, nor the sailors who were attacked,” said Benitez. “Their lives as well as the lives of the entire crew . . . will not be the same . . . what else will happen to us before we can return to our home healthy?”