SURINAME-PIRACY-Government exploring tighter measures in wake of deadly piracy attack

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The Suriname government says it is exploring the idea of having fishing boats have mandatory global positioning systems (GPS) as the body of one of the 16 fishermen believed to have been killed by pirates over the last weekend had been found.
Justice and Police Minister Stuart Getrouw condemned the incident and said the “government has taken immediate action to help find the missing men, because we know how important it is for the families”.
He said that his ministry would be examining various strategies including mandatory GPS systems on every fishing vessel and would hold discussions with the fishermen on the matter.
piracyFive days after the incident, officials were continuing the search for the 16 fishermen, now presumed dead after their boats were raided by pirates off the coast of the Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
The Suriname Coast Guard said that the fishermen were part of a group of 20 in four boats who were attacked off the Atlantic coast of Suriname.
The local news website, Starnieuws published Wednesday a grainy aerial photo of what appears to be the lifeless body of a man, in the mud off the coast of District Saramacca.
The photo had been shot by a pilot of private charter airline that had taken the initiative to carry out flights to search for the fishermen.
“After we saw the body from the air, we returned to Paramaribo to give the exact location to the authorities. This might help locate other bodies as well,” said Pilot Wayne Gummels of Gumair.
Piracy has always been a source of concern for fisherfolk, but last Friday’s attack is the worst on record. The captain one of one of the boats attacked said the pirates were armed with guns and machetes.
The captain showed off the wounds he sustained when the pirates chopped at him and his crew members.
He said the pirates ordered the fishermen to jump into the water, hitting at them with bamboo sticks as they struggled to swim. The captain said that one of his crew members who did not know how to swim drowned immediately. He said that as he swam, one of the pirates fired his gun at him, but missed. The captain was the only crew member on his boat to survive the ordeal.
Police said that since Friday’s incident they have received three more similar reports of attacks by pirates.
Coast Guard and police vessels, along with members of the Fisheries Collective Association, have been searching for the missing men and the pirates since the attack last Friday. To date, three of the four boats have been recovered and Wednesday’s discovery of the body in the mud is the first hint that it is unlikely that the other crew members are still alive.
“I cannot believe that I have not heard my husband’s voice these past couple of days,” said Tarmatie Ibrahim, whose husband Danish Persad was captain on one of the vessels that has been recovered.
She said she had spoken to him by phone last Friday and he told her that he was preparing a fish dinner.
“I saw the fish that he was cooking; he didn’t even get a chance to finish cooking,” she said, adding that their small children “can sense that something is very wrong.”

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