When thieves are on the prowl

There is no such thing as total protection but you can make it difficult for the thieves.

Be it partial or complete theft – the thieves are usually professional and well targeted.  The insurance specialist Pantaenius is constantly on the heels of the thieves: The yacht experts are proceeding against the theives with a worldwide unique tracking system and effective preventative measures, but sometimes even their hands are bound.

On average, 290 partial and total losses through theft are reported to Pantaenius every year. This equates to an annual loss of approx. 1.6 million Euro. Thus, theft is the fifth highest cause of loss (11%) at Pantaenius - incidentally, collision damage has been occupying first place in the statistics for some years.

Unlike break-ins in houses and cars the yachting sector is not generally a victim of drug-related crime but rather specific serial break-ins. The reason: the stolen goods are much harder to sell. "High quality navigational electronics and outboard motors are on the 'shopping list' of the burglars, and they only have a very limited sector of takers", says Holger Flindt, Manager of the Loss Division at Pantaenius. The insurance experts usually pursue quite conventional routes to track down the thieves. "In case of serial break-ins it is often worth having a look at eBay, where we have been able successful in locating and recovering some of the stolen goods.“

In organised theft of high quality luxury yachts it is important to act quickly. "A favourite channel for stolen yachts leads from the Adriatic Coast and the Cote d'Azur to the Black Sea, as there is a huge demand for noble vessels particularly in Eastern Europe,", said Flindt. "For us it is very important to find the vessels before they pass through the Bosporus. For this reason we work closely with the Turkish Coast Guard and the pilots. Once a vessel has made it to the Black Sea, we have very few options of access."

The reason: Bona fide purchased stolen goods cannot be ordered to be returned in Russia.  "That can be pretty frustrating" says Flindt who knows from his own experience.  A loss team was able to locate a stolen motor yacht in a lake near Moscow but even though it was evident that it concerned the stolen object - the papers even still contained the old name of the vessel - Pantaenius' hands were bound by Russian jurisprudence. "Since the current owner could prove that he actually purchased the vessel from a dealer - who naturally disappeared - in good faith, we have no hope of getting the boat back.“

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