Hope renewed for family of victim in second pirate attack

Hardeo Beechan

The family of Hardeo Beechan, the Guyanese fisherman who is feared dead after the second pirate attack on Wednesday, has decided to launch a search for him, in hopes that there is some chance he may still be alive.

On Wednesday night, a gang of pirates attacked the boat Beechan was captain of. Beechan, called Ganesh, 32, of Woodley Park, West Coast Berbice was feared dead by relatives, who were informed that he was beaten and shot before being thrown overboard.

However, new information reaching the family indicates that Beechan may not have been shot during the attack, kindling  hope among them, especially in light of news that a survivor of an earlier attack, Sherwin Lovell, was found.

Last night, the missing man’s brother, Heeralall Beechan said that they would be heading out to sea today with three boats with the hopes of finding his brother.

He explained that the crew members from his brother’s boat returned to land last night with coast guards and were taken to the local hospital for medical attention. The crewmembers, he said, were injured from the brutal beating they received from the pirates.

On Thursday, this newspaper reported that Hardeo was reportedly shot before being thrown overboard. His brother yesterday clarified that when he spoke with the crewmembers they informed him he was not shot but chopped by his assailants.

The attack, Surinamese news agencies reported, was carried out on the coast of Matapica Canal, approximately eight miles from the Paramaribo River mouth. Four other crew members were reportedly injured during the encounter.

“A crewman told me that when they came to the boat they fire a shot and my brother jumped overboard. And them man seh, “oh you want jump overboard?” And they scramble him and pull he in their boat and beat him. The [crew] man seh after that, he hear one scream and they throw he overboard,” Heeralall explained on Thursday.

However, yesterday he related that when his brother’s boat came under attack, the pirates fired a warning shot and his brother jumped overboard.

The “hijackers came to them and fired a shot at their boat and meh brother jump and when he jump from the boat, the hijackers what had come in his boat called their partners and say, “ayo collect the man at the back” and the hijackers use them boat went and collect he,” the brother explained.

Recounting further what was told to him by the crewmembers, Heeralall said after the pirates pulled his brother from the water, they placed him in their boat.

At this point, he said one of the pirates who was already in his brother’s boat returned to his boat with the cutlass and said, “bring am come leh me look after him”, and they hear meh brother holler one time and the one time he holler they hear.”

After hearing Hardeo scream, the crewmembers reported that they heard their attackers saying, “abbie done look after him.” It was around this time they said Hardeo was thrown overboard.

The crewmen informed Heeralall that one the attacker’s cutlasses was covered in blood.

The pirates returned to the boat Hardeo and his crewmembers occupied and launched an attack on the crew. The men carted off 2 ½ barrels of gasoline, cellphones, a GPS tracking system and the crew’s ration, before escaping.

According to Heeralall, he and his brother have been residing in Suriname for some years now, with their immediate family.

He noted that his brother has been a part of the fishing trade for approximately 15 years.

The attack came almost a week after a brazen piracy attack was carried out by five pirates on four fishing boats, in the vicinity of the Wia Wia bank in Suriname. It was reported that each fishing boat was occupied by five persons, comprising the captain and four fishermen.

Of the 20 crew members who came under attack last Friday, five survived; four making it to shore soon after the attack, and the fifth, being rescued on Wednesday. Three bodies were discovered, one identified as Danesh Persaud, while 12 remain missing.

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