About seven armed, masked pirates terrorized and robbed 35 crew members of seven fishing boats between 6 pm on Tuesday and 3 am yesterday in the Nickerie, Suriname area.
Five of the boats belong to members of the Number 66 Fish Port Complex, Panashwar ‘Max’ Jainarine, 45; Roypin Motin, 44 of Lancaster; ‘Raymond’ of Number 66 Village, ‘Khan’ and ‘Subramani.’
The two other boats are owned by Latchman and his father-in-law of the Rosignol Fisherman’s Co-op Society Limited.
The pirates beat the men severely with pieces of wood and also ‘broadsided’ them with cutlasses, resulting in some having to seek treatment at the Skeldon Hospital.
The marks from the attacks were evident on their bodies. The fishermen told Stabroek News that the men first demanded their cell phones.
They then disconnected the engines by removing the leads and dumping them overboard. They ordered some of the workers to transfer the catch to their boats while beating them in the process.
A captain related that around 2.30 am the pirates slammed into the boat and ordered him and some of the crew members into the fish pen.
They also demanded that a crew member transfer the catch into their boat and dealt him a few lashes because he was taking too long.
He recalled too that the pirates asked another worker his name and when he responded with a “funny” false name they lashed him across his back.
The sea bandits then proceeded to attack another boat after noticing its light.
He said another boat assisted them with a lead to get safely back to shore. The captain was frustrated that “years go and years come we getting attack and nobody is making a stir. We don’t know who to turn to for help…”
The fishers suspect that other fishermen were carrying out the attacks. According to them, “the price for fish and fish glue is high and it is attracting criminals.”
They said too, “From the time they enter they would tell you to get into the cabin so you cannot look at them and only one would do the talking. The others would show sign because they are afraid that their voices would be recognized.
“It seems like they are getting smarter every time but we are getting weaker because we are not getting help from anywhere. Government needs to give more support to the fishermen.”
According to them the job is risky and the constant attacks had left them helpless and frustrated.
They recalled that last week during an attack the pirates called two workers by their names.
Motin, 44, of Lancaster said he became aware of the hijacking while he was at the Number 66 wharf around 6 am yesterday. That was when his boat with his workers came in.
He told this newspaper that the pirates first attacked his boat around
6 pm. They then joined that boat with his workers, leaving one of their accomplices in their boat.
His workers suffered the brunt of the attacks, he said, because they attempted to escape when they noticed the boat with the pirates approaching.
He said they were stripped and beaten. The pirates also threw gasoline on his workers and kept a lighted lamp nearby and even threatened to throw it at them.
One of the workers sustained a broken leg while the captain, known as ‘King’ sustained wounds to his abdomen and other parts of his body.
Motin said he learnt last evening that their conditions had worsened and that relatives had taken them to the New Amsterdam Hospital.
Jainarine told SN that his crew was out at sea for the second day when they were attacked.
After robbing the boat, the pirates took the captain, ‘Johnny’ with them and beat him with the cutlass to show him where the other boats were.
They then attacked the boats belonging to Subramani, Raymond and Khan.
They also took the captains of these boats with them. Jainarine said his boat was also attacked earlier this year and he had lost an engine.