Piracy Incident Report: Bahamas
Piracy Incident Report: 411
Incident Type: Attack
Area: Western New Providence, Bahamas
Date of Incident: 01/05/15
Position: Stuart Cove
Time of Incident (LT):2200
Information Source: :Media
On the evening of Friday 1st May at approx. 10:00pm LT, a 51 year old British man named ‘Gary Vanhoeck’ was shot dead on his yacht in the Bahamas.
Mr Vanhoeck’s wife; Kathryn; was also on board the vessel and was tied up and placed in a separate room before the two masked men demanded money and then shot Mr Vanhoeck twice in the head before escaping. It is believed that Mrs Vanhoeck was not harmed during the attack
Reports have stated that there were 4 men in total involved in the incident. Two men tied up and detained a security guard whilst the other two men went aboard the yacht.
2014 saw the crime situation in the Bahamas reach critical levels and as a result four separate security alerts were issued for the capital, Nassau. 2015 has so far seen no improvement, as murder rates continue to rise. Gun crime and the confiscation of firearms and ammunition happen on a daily basis. This has been blamed on the close proximity of America to the Bahamas (50 miles at the closest point) and the lax gun laws in the Bahamas, which has allowed the country to become swamped with firearms. Guns are used in about 60% of violent crimes in the country.
It was only in March of this year that the U.S. State Department issued a critical crime warning for Nassau, warning citizens residing in and travelling to the Bahamas to be aware of their surroundings and remain on heightened alert to avoid being a victim of crime. The warning stated that armed robbery remains a major criminal threat facing citizens with the crime threat on New Providence listed as “critical.”
This incident highlights the risks involved in living and visiting the Bahamas, even in a securely guarded marina. All yachts need to be responsible for their own safety, ensuring that all access to their yachts are secured and access points made as difficult as possible for anyone to board.