VISITING CALIFORNIA YACHT RANSACKED IN SAMOA

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By Anthony Upton

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Aug 3) – A yachting crew from California is an unhappy bunch.

On Thursday night while they were enjoying Samoa’s hospitality at a hotel in Apia, their yacht moored at Apia Harbour, was robbed of an estimated US$2,000 (T$5,400) worth of goods.

Southern Star Captain Mark Rogers yesterday questioned the kind of security for yachts like his.

Mr Rogers said his crew of four were enjoying a "great night" at Hotel Kitano Samoa fiafia night when thieves hit his boat, taking clothes, hats, Ipods, cellphones and a camera.

"We noticed last night (Thursday night) that people had been on the boat between the hours of 6 and 10pm," Mr Rogers told the Saturday Observer yesterday.

"At that time, we were enjoying a great night at Kitano Tusitala Hotel. We had no idea our boat would be robbed.

"This sort of thing has never happened to us, ever. It's just disappointing."

Mr Rogers said his crew decided to come to Samoa because of the good news he heard from crew member, Andrew Jenkins.

"Andy told us of how wonderful Samoa was. He had lived in Samoa for two years and told us about the wonderful people and the great country Samoa was," Mr Rogers said.

"But I don’t want a few bad apples to kill the barrel. The issue of security needs to be addressed."

Mr Rogers suspects thieves used another boat to get to his yacht.

"I think it had to be a rushed job because they had left all the other big things alone," he said. "I think it was an in and out job taking no longer than five minutes.

"We saw footprints on the boat, shoe marks, and we saw items littered on the floor.

"They had to have come on a boat, because they had shoes on, as we could tell from the shoe prints on our boat."

Saddened by this experience, Mr Rogers wants security stepped up for yachts at the harbour.

With tourists bound for Samoa in three weeks' time for the South Pacific Games, he said poor security would discourage people in coming to Samoa.

He is calling on the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) to take immediate action to address the issue.

"I think STA needs to make it known that they are going to ensure petty theft stops," he said.

"I think action is what’s going to make a difference. If they take action now and make some sort of a statement that there is an issue with security that’s being addressed it would help cut it off before it worsens.

"I would like to see an improvement because I wouldn’t want to come back here if it continues to go on like this, and especially with the number of tourists coming to Samoa for the Games, they wouldn’t want to feel insecure.

"Action needs to be taken to address this issue. The minute the word gets out that Samoa has a security problem, people won’t want to come here.

"I wouldn’t want to see the image of Samoa destroyed, this is why action needs to be taken now."

Mr Rogers said Police have been told about their situation.

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