Central Trinidad fishermen face pirate attacks over the weekend

The waters off Orange Valley, Couva.

(Trinidad Express) Fishermen in central Trinidad are under pirate attack. Four boats were stripped of engines at the weekend.

And president of the Claxton Bay Fisherfolk Association, Kishore Boodram, is appealing to the Coast Guard to increase patrols in the Gulf of Paria.

Boodram said piracy was a serious issue and fishermen are being robbed of their livelihood daily.His statement followed an attack on fishermen at Orange Valley, Couva, last Friday night.

Fisherman Shiva Ramdeo said he was robbed of his boat engine valued $40,000.

Ramdeo, 27, said he and three other men were on board his 27-foot pirogue off Waterloo when they were robbed.

“We were picking up our nets when a boat came up to us. The boat had no lights but we heard the engine. We flashed a light and saw eight men on board the boat wearing masks. The man at the front of the boat was holding a machine gun,” he said.

Ramdeo said the men jumped into his vessel and began beating him and his crewmates.

“Then two of them took the engine off my boat,” he said.

Ramdeo said he had purchased the vessel one month ago. “I was working for other fishermen and saved up some money to buy my own boat. This is very hard for me,” he said.

Police confirmed that three other engines were stolen from boats at Orange Valley at the weekend.

Boodram said he was not satisfied with the response of the Coast Guard. He said too often fishermen were forced to undertake the dangerous task of searching for their stolen boats and engines.

“We go into mangroves and other dangerous places in search of these engines. Sometimes were find it and other times we have to bear our losses. The coast guard need to do their job. They need to patrol the area more and take these reports seriously. We have many cases of stolen engines but sometimes these fishermen don’t bother to report it because nothing is being done about it,” he said.

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