Pirates have attacked 70 ships on Ecuador’s north coast in 2013

18 de abril de 2013 10:24

Crime is on the rise in the ocean off Esmeraldas near Ecuador’s north border with Colombia. As a result, the government will start installing GPS chips in fishing boats and monitoring their signals.

Last week a high-profile rescue of 16 fishermen brought attention to the issue. Their boat had been stranded in the open ocean when their outboard motors were stolen by pirates.
Mauro Oviedo, president of the Esmeraldas fishers collective, says 70 counts of motor theft similar to last week’s have been reported so far this year. In contrast, only 96 were reported in all of 2012.

Piracy has also led to two deaths so far this year: Enrique Rangel (35) died during an attack on Jan. 8, 80 nautical miles off the coast of Esmeraldas. And César Góngora Colorado (38) was shot and killed in the Esmeraldas harbour on April 7 . Three suspects have been arrested in that case, says the local chief of police.

The rising levels of offshore crime has led to protests by fishers and even the sale of some ships by owners who do not want to take the risk.

One fisher who was attacked by pirates last december says they took off with his two outboard motors, worth about $6,000 and $8,000. A fiberglass boat costs about $14,000.

One of his stolen motors was a part of a Ministry of Agriculture giveaway. They distributed 364 outboard motors to fishers last year.

A leader in the Esmeraldas fishers collective says that the motors that are taken by pirates disappear, and probably end up in Colombia along with the GPS systems, fishing gear and navigation instruments that are also stolen.

In Papes, Esmeraldas about 2,000 fishers work on 300 boats to catch tuna, corvina, and dorado. 

Original story

Lectura estimada:
Contiene: palabras

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