Eight robberies and attempted robberies on vessels were reported in South and Central America in April 2018. Only two were not against fishing vessels. A robbery on a Tanker was reported at Jose Terminal, Venezuela and an attempted robbery against an anchored Bulk Carrier around 6nm NE of Macapa Port, Brazil. Fishing Boats were attacked and robbed in Mexico, Colombia and Suriname.
7 April 2018 - A fishing boat was attacked by masked men armed with rifles at Sonda de Campeche, Mexico. They stole outboard motors, fishing nets, fish, communication radios, cell phones and cash and left the fishermen at sea. They were rescued by other fishermen after several hours.15
7 April 2018 - A fishing boat was attacked by armed masked men at Laguna de Terminos, Mexico. Crab traps, their outboard motor, cell phones and radios were stolen.16
18 April 2018 - Three fishing boats, Lusitano, Ana Maria and Dona Rosario were attacked by armed men at Timbiqui, Cauca Department, Colombia. They stole the shrimp catch and crew’s belongings. They demanded money and when the captain could not comply they hit him on the head with a rifle butt. Frigate Captain Ibis Luna, commander of the Pacific Coast Guard claimed that the attack was perpetrated by members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). It is not clear why the coast guard would contribute this attack to the ELN as it seems unlikely that the group would be responsible. Although attacks on oil installations could be attributed to the group in the past, the last maritime attack attributed to them was in 2001.17
Brutal Attack on Fishermen Suriname
27 April 2018 - Twenty fishermen in four fishing boats were attacked at Wia Wia Bank, New Amsterdam, Suriname while they were casting their nets. The attackers arrived in a boat very similar to their own. They fired a warning shot and ordered the fishermen to lay down. They assaulted the fishermen and threw them overboard, some with their hands tied. Several of the fishermen were weight down with the boat batteries and other heavy items tied to their feet. The attackers took one of the boats Romina with them as well as engines, fuel and the catch. One boat sank and two have been recovered since.
Four fishermen were rescued by passing vessels. One survivor was found in critical condition on 6 May 2018 at Braamspunt, Commewijne. Four bodies have also been recovered. Eleven fishermen are still missing presumed dead.
According to a source the boat used in the attack had a registration starting with “SK” which is a Guyanese registration number. The attackers were recognised by the fishermen as Guyanese. They were identified only by the names Dick, Bolo/Ballo, Sinbat and Crack Head.
It is alleged that a gang of nine to 11 men led by two Guyanese brothers are responsible for recent attacks. “Sinbad” Manohar is thought to be the mastermind behind the attack. He resides in Suriname.
It is rumoured that there is an ongoing feud between fishermen is the area over fishing rights. On 28 February Captain Mark Skeete was shot and killed at the mouth of the Marowijne River. The Manohar brothers were suspected of being behind the shooting. On 30 March 2018 one of the brothers, Somnath Manohar was killed during a drive by shooting in Suriname. Apparently the attack on the 20 fishermen is in revenge of the murder of Somnath Manohar. The family alleged that the fishermen were responsible for the killing.
The brother of the alleged mastermind of the incident Nakool Manohar alias Fyah was arrested on 2 May 2018 at Number 43 Village home, East Berbice, Corentyne. So far seven suspects have been arrested. All but one are Guyanese currently receding in Suriname. Some of the men were arrested in Nieuw Amsterdam as they came to sell the stolen catch.18
Independent Global Incident Analysis
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