Fear mounts for family of 16 missing fishermen

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As the search continues for 16 fishermen whose boats were attacked sometime between Friday and Saturday last, relatives are bracing themselves for the worst.

News Room understands that pirates, believed to be Guyanese, attacked and robbed four fishing boats in Suriname with a combined crew of 20 men and threw them overboard.

Of the 20 men crew, only four were rescued.  A relative who spoke with News Room late Monday night explained that most of the men missing are Guyanese who lived and worked in Suriname for the past 15 years.

“We got a call that pirates attack my uncle them boat and them police looking for them. He tell we that a boat pull up and start chopping them and tie them up. He said they tie them with battery, the anchor and other heavy things and throw them overboard after them transfer the fish, gas and glue from them boat,” the relative told News Room.

Meanwhile, a family member of one of the missing fishermen who spoke with a Surinamese News Outlet lamented the lack of police action in Suriname.

“The police said they have to get confirmation for themselves since they don’t know if the men who come out are pirates and if four boats get attack. The other fishermen take their boats and went out after them hear and that’s how these four men get save. If the police go out them can hopefully find them alive but if them delay we might never find them body.”

Many Guyanese have migrated to Suriname to ply the fishing trade since it is more profitable to fish in Surinamese water. They are required to obtain a license to fish and expect the protection of the Surinamese authorities in the sea since the Guyanese Coast Guards cannot enter that jurisdiction.

This has been a sore point for not only the Surinamese based Guyanese but those who leave these shores and fish in the neighbouring country. The fisher folks have long contended that the Surinamese authorities do not care about them since they are seen as non-nationals.

Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan has been instrumental in working out an agreement with the Surinamese to allow Guyanese security forces to enter into their waters whenever they are in pursuit of Pirates and have managed to significantly reduce the incidents of same. The last pirate attack was in May of 2017.

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