Local January 8, 2013 | 9:45 am

Dominican Republic boaters’ heaven turns to inferno

In the year 2007 there were roughly 200 boats in Luperon Harbor. People from all over the world cruised here because it was a very popular and safe cruising destination in the center of the Caribbean. The local Dominican economy enjoyed approximately $300,000 to $400,000 (US) per month value of business from the cruising community.

Since 2007 there have been almost 40 documented and reported boat robberies totaling a loss to cruisers of over $80,000 (US). There have been more robberies however unreported.

When robberies are reported to local authorities, the victims are sent from one local authoritative office to another, with no one taking responsibility or seeking justice.

No follow-up is ever done, no arrests ever made, no stolen items ever returned to the rightful owners. In one case photos were provided of a robbery while in progress by a hidden camera, and the authorities admitted they knew who the thieves were, yet NO action was taken against the thieves.

Within the last 30 days since December 12, there have been five reported boat robberies, and in one case a 42 foot trawler (Continuum) was set on fire at a loss of $250,000 (US).

Today there are only around 30 boats in Luperon Harbor and the reasons the number have dwindled is directly related to this lack of security and safety and uncaring attitude from the local officials.

The cruising community has organized numerous meetings with the local authorities over the years. This includes the Tourist Police, the local Luperon Police, the “Marina Guerra” (Commandant Officials), Dominican Navy officials, Drug Enforcement, and the local tourism official.

Each time optimism arises from the conversations, however it has is obvious that the local authorities just do not want to hear about any of it.

All this bad news has spread across the Internet and the major “Cruising Websites” and guides. The cruisers of the world, and their money, are not coming to the “Luperon Caribbean Paradise” anymore as well as the entire Dominican Republic.

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Ed: Several years ago seveeral boat owners separately contacted DT to denounce similar situations, from which an effort surged to help improve conditions in the country’s ports and marinas.

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