Fishermen fight pirate attacks in Ecuador
Ecuadorian fishermen have taken matters into their own hands to fight long-standing pirate attacks in the country’s coastal provinces.
On June 28, the media Ecuavisa reported that fishermen set fire to a boat moored at the port of Santa Rosa in the western coastal province of Santa Elena. The vessel has reportedly been used on several occasions by pirates to steal engines from fishing boats at sea.
The fishermen claimed to have attacked because authorities failed to prevent maritime crime, according to Ecuavisa.
SEE ALSO: Cocaine pirates in Ecuador: part one
A day after the attack, representatives of the fishermen’s unions met with the governor of Santa Elena, Fulton Edulfo Anchundia Pacheco, members of the navy and the police to demand that the fishing industry be recognized as being in a state of repair. ’emergency.
During the meeting, Ramón González Suárez, manager of a local fishing cooperative, detailed how pirate attacks had plagued the port for years and that the authorities had done nothing to resolve the problem.
In response, authorities pledged to step up maritime controls and asked fishermen to report the attacks to the Attorney General’s office, the media outlet. added.
In January of this year, pirates attacked seven fishing boats off the coast of the port of Anconcito de Santa Elena, also located in the township of Salinas, Expreso reported. During the theft, heavily armed thieves reportedly stole six of the seven boats and 15 engines in total, injuring a fisherman.
Heavily armed pirate groups working along Ecuador’s west coast have for years targeted small fishing boats to steal their engines, which are in high demand and sold for Thousands of dollars on the black market. As reported by InSight Crime, these engines were then often used on board ships carrying drugs.
InSight Crime Analysis
Engine theft by pirates has plagued the coast of Santa Elena and other Ecuadorian provinces for decades, raising questions about why authorities failed to target the crime.
Those who want to avoid an attack must pay hackers $ 100 to $ 150 per month for their security, according to one 2019 report of El Comercio. Those who resist are often kill or hurt at sea during robberies.
SEE ALSO: Pirates control the ocean between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago
Speaking in 2019, González sharing how for more than 25 years, fishermen working from Santa Rosa had been victims of theft, assault and extortion, but no substantial security plan had been put forward.
While the authorities have open investigations and offered to realize reactive patrols in some provinces, little has been done to substantially target the problem. This means that some fishermen are now dissuaded from reporting attacks, adding another layer to a vicious cycle.
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