A group of young Norwegians out sailing in the Caribbean were attacked by pirates off the eastern coast of Panama late last week. Panamanian authorities quickly arrested six suspects and have been offering the victims lots of assistance.
“The Norwegian youth have been given accommodation and are being well taken care of,” a spokesman for the national police told state broadcaster NRK. Panama’s president himself ordered round-the-clock police protection for the four Norwegian men and two women, they’ve been provided with a Danish psychologist, and were getting help with their onward travel.
The group of six Norwegians reportedly had anchored up in a storm last Friday at a bay called Nombre de Dios. Shortly after darkness fell, the boat was suddenly boarded by modern-day pirates who reportedly arrived in three or four boats without motors. NRK reported that they were wearing ski masks and were armed with knives, a semi-automatic weapon and a revolver, whereupon they robbed the group of money, mobile phones, boating equipment, alcoholic beverages and other personal possessions.
The attack lasted for an estimated 45 minutes. After the pirates left, the group managed to sail to land and contact police, who were able to track down the assailants via the stolen mobile phones. They now face prison terms of as long as 18 years, since an attack on tourists is viewed as harming Panama’s international reputation.
NRK reported that several similar attacks have been reported in the area around Panama, where numerous Norwegian ships routinely sail through the Panama Canal. Panamanian authorities also contacted Norway’s foreign ministry and the state police unit Kripos about the attack.