The boat attacked by pirates on Friday night has been found but the three crewmen remain missing while the police continue to hold five men as investigations continue.
An intense search has been launched for the three missing men who were part of a five-man crew working along the Corentyne shores, when five men armed with pieces of wood and cutlasses, hijacked their boat and used it to rob two other boats.
The captain of the boat, Seepersaud Persaud, 43, was pushed overboard and survived while one of the fishermen, Hemchand Sookdeo, 45, was found dead, tangled in seines with a chop wound at the back of his head. The three fishermen that are missing are Munesh Churman known as Boyo, 26; Dochan Sukra known as Butcher, 54; and Dhanpaul Ramphal, who all hail from the Upper Corentyne.
Churman is the father of a two-year-old girl and a five-month-old boy. His wife, Teajpattie Seusaran related to Stabroek News yesterday that another boat her husband worked on had been hijacked and robbed once before, after which she pleaded with him not to continue to be a fisherman. “I spoke with him many times but he loves the job and never wanted to give it up,” she recalled. “I tell him don’t go, I don’t know if he will come back and this time he na come back,” the distraught woman said.
The boat that was hijacked, Rosana 664, was found on Saturday evening by its owner Mohamed Husain Arran, drifting in the Corentyne. Arran told Stabroek News that after hours of searching, he finally found his boat drifting away. He related that as he boarded the vessel, he noticed that one of the two engines on board was missing. However, he later suggested that the men may have thrown the new 48 Yamaha engine worth $900, 000, overboard.
Arran said that the $2 million boat sustained some damage and his seines worth $3.5 million were missing.
Clent Nathoo, the owner of one of the other boats that was attacked, told Stabroek News that after his workmen were attacked, they left their seines out at sea and returned to land in fear. However, he said, they returned yesterday to retrieve their seines. “Them tell me that about 2 O clock a boat with five people pull up and force them into their own cabin and ordered them men to offload the fish,” he related. The name of his boat is Akbar SK 1509 and he said his workmen told him that the pirates were ordering the men who are now missing to offload the fish.
Another boat owned by Hasrat Ali was also robbed that night. According to Arran, it has been rumoured in the village that all of the missing fishermen were pushed overboard, causing grief among the relatives and friends of the missing men.
On Saturday, Comman-der of ‘B’ Division Ian Amsterdam confirmed that five men had been arrested and a boat fitting the description of the perpetrators’ boat had been detained. Yesterday, he said the investigation is still ongoing “but is going in the right direction.”