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Cheetah Moon captain speaks out about the death of Chef Ludovic Guillevin in St. Maarten
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 3:06 PM
Joined: 02/05/2008
Posts: 392

Dockwalk received this email from the captain of M/Y Cheetah Moon who asked us to post this information to clarify details and clear up rumors and speculation following the death of Chef Ludovic Guillevin in St. Maarten on February 26, 2011.

In his memory, I would like to clarify the details concerning the death of our chef Ludovic Guillevin, to prevent any unnecessary speculation.

Mr. Ludovic Guillevin was found on Mullet bay beach in St. Maarten by a passerby on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 6:30 a.m. He had severe injuries due to a brutal and excessively savage attack. He was transported to the hospital on the Dutch side of the island.

At 10:30 a.m. I was contacted by the boat agent who informed me that Ludovic Guillevin was in hospital and the police were looking for me. The police prevented me from going to the hospital immediately as they were interviewing me along with other crewmembers on board the vessel. I arrived at the hospital with my agent Simon Manley of Shoresupport.  We found Ludovic in intensive care and unable to communicate as he was sedated while being treated. The medical staff urged us to send him to a bigger hospital as soon as possible as they could not adequately deal with the severity of his head trauma. I was surprised that they were waiting on me for this decision. Due to his experience with medical emergencies, Simon Manley responded fast and arranged for Medivac transport to Fort de France Hospital in Martinique in as little as possible time. A plane was available in St. Maarten and as soon as medical staff were ready Ludovic was flown to Fort de France. His condition deteriorated during this flight and he died shortly after arrival at the trauma unit (Samu). I had a meeting with medical staff of trauma unit, they confirmed the severity of Ludovic’s condition. He had several skull fractures and other serious injuries. They explained that the injuries were so extreme that he would not have survived even if he had arrived earlier.   

In the following week, I met with the gentleman who found Ludovic on the beach and called the emergency services. At that time Ludovic was conscious and could speak a little with him. Ludovic told the man he was abducted and forced into a vehicle by several people between Simpson Bay Marina and the Bridge after midnight on Friday night. He did not enter the vehicle voluntarily. Ludovic was walking alone at the time. He was attacked and robbed; we do not know the reason why the attack was so savage.

Many people have been speculating about the reason. However, as his captain and friend, I can say that I have known Ludovic for more than nine years. He was previously employed with me on the vessel Nolose based in Palma de Mallorca, owned by a high-level Aristocratic Family. Due to the nature of this industry, I lived and worked in close quarters with Ludovic and truly got to know him as a person.

I can affirm that at 37 years old, he was very professional, gregarious and well loved by his employers and fellow crewmembers alike. He was not involved in illegal activities and did not use drugs. Ludovic had the same girlfriend for 15 years, living a normal, stable life in Palma de Mallorca.

The false rumors and assumptions that drugs or illegal activities were involved marginalized the attack and provided a false sense of security. It is easier to brush aside such an atrocity if it is assumed to have happened to a bad person. Ludovic was, however, an innocent victim of a horrific crime.

It would seem that the crime rate is escalating in the area [St. Maarten]. Annually mega yachts return to St. Maarten bringing with them the image of luxury. These crewmembers arrive after working hard during the season and would like to have a bit of a good time. Sadly, however, there are bad elements around that wish them ill and are, perhaps, envious of their perceived wealth.

I feel it is important that the captains, brokers and agencies to keep crew informed of the reality of the dangers out there and that they make crew safety a priority until the authorities have shown that they have made progress in providing a safer environment.

Such an accident can happen to anybody and all should take care equally.

While I did not reveal any new information, I wanted to emphasize that I truly believe that my Chef, Ludovic Guillevin, was not involved in any illegal activities. Ludovic was a good, professional sailor who I would recommended for any yacht.

My crew and I will never forget Ludovic and we will cherish the good times shared with our friend and colleague.”

- Captain Jean-Yves Candlot                        

Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 11:13 PM
Very Sad and tragic. Breaks my heart. Be safe everyone. Don't be out alone in these places.

Capt Edward P
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 9:37 AM
Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 81

Good to have a comment from the Captain after all this time. I still feel that if crime is escalating and that we have to "have another death every year" then we should avoid the area and frankly I don't think the authorities will do much whilst the money rolls in. Surely there must be other places we can all go? Captain Ed
Miss B Haven
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 3:37 PM
Joined: 26/09/2008
Posts: 11

I believe that the problem in SXM is there are too many yachts/crew in one confined area. So of course the locals are going to get jealous or greedy or angry. The yachtie's are out there flaunting thier new found wealth in the form of partying after a very hard season. Most of the crew are so busy that when they do get ONE night off, they over due it. This has been the norm for years. What has changed is the number of crew and the drug scene which cannot be ruled out. I am not doubting the captains words. Its just a fact that there are more drugs around now and this causes for a demand. More money. The users are looking for easy money and yachties are a walking pocket of cash. Its very sad that this tragedy happened in such a violent manor. Who knows why they acted like they did. But I have deep suspicions that the attackers were juiced up on something.
Koru International
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 4:31 PM
Joined: 07/10/2008
Posts: 10

A beautifully written tribute and some solid clarification. Unfortunately, I agree that the boats will continue to visit SMX and that even with a "buddy system" in place, the potential for future violence will be there until addressed by the authorities. Can we convince the owners to avoid SMX? As we do, we can only inform and impress upon them the dangers and hope that they allow us to go elsewhere. So very sorry for the loss of a fine man. Captain Wendy Umla
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 4:57 PM
First of all. Reast in peace. Second. Thankyou Capt. for your letter. Third. Not allways are you aloud to coment, untill the oficialls are finished with the investigation and this is my first criticissim to Miss B Haven, do not specullate, or drop suttleties about a person, i have been in marine (not just yachting) industry over 22 years and the west indie´s are getting more violent every year and the drug abuse come´s from the locals more than from the crew´s. If not read more about crimes in the area from dockwalk. Please in these casses lets not jump the bullet and have a opinion lets wait for facts. I personally did not know Ludo. but some of my friends did. i am bassed in Mallorca.
Posted: Saturday, April 2, 2011 5:51 PM
Joined: 30/06/2008
Posts: 85

I hope that Chef Ludovic's friends and family can move forward with some sort of hope for the future after the tragic loss.

I spent most of last winter skippering a yacht based in St. Martin (French side). The general opinion was that the French side was a bit safer and more accountable, after all it is part of France, the E.U. and has French Gendarmes patrolling the streets.

As a family man, a late night out to me was dinner out and home by 10pm, and felt quite safe living there with my wife and 2 toddlers, my main worry was for one of the crew to get hit on the Simpson Bay road by a drunk driver which was fairly frequent in the past. When i lived there in 2004 there were occasional stories of people getting robbed and beaten, normally late at night by Bliss down the unlit back streets, back then my wife and I partied late but had few worries, besides drunk drivers.

Last year, my 1st mate was car jacked, beaten and left in a ditch by the side of the road after having one of the crew cars  stolen from him and the thieves trying to force him through the security gate of the bosses property to rob the place. He wrote something about it in , it would have been around Feb or March, 2010. At the time, I am sorry to say that I did nt really believe his story, as he had a habit of staying out late and getting in to trouble, I believe it now! These sorts of incidents do seem on the rise, but I find my self wondering about all the  wealthy american med students studying there, they seem to stay out of trouble (as far as I know), perhaps its just lack of awareness on the part of visitors as to where and when to be?

St Martin has a diverse tourist based econonmy with a maasive presence of time share properties, only a few hotels as a result, the cruise ship business and yes, yachts too. I feel the weight of the 'yacht industry' may have been over stated in some of the blogs. While it remains a cheap place to bunker and provision with its huge run way for aircraft,  I dont see the yachts leaving any time soon.

There are/were a few Wise Guys, retired on to the island, occasioanlly the US FBI would fly in and arrest one for some sort of Mafia crime and ship them back to the states. But, I am sure the violent street crime is due to addicts desperate for cash.

I was robbed once in St. Maarten last year, by a Canadian day worker who helped himself to a wedge of cash from the boat.

Posted: Monday, November 11, 2013 2:31 PM

un énorme merci pour votre témoignage, captain Candlot

que notre ami et collègue Ludovic repose en paix


Marianne , m/y Nolose ....

 Average 5 out of 5