This past Sunday morning, Guyanese authorities captured a vessel and several people who were reportedly conducting pirating on the Pomeroon river, a recent hotbed of local piracy.
According to the Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn, a quick, coordinated response by several arms of law enforcement resulted in a crew of fisherman being saved and a crew of pirates being captured.
The cohesion of the several agencies that were part of the response is encouraging for local mariners of Guyana– a quick response, information sharing and a coordinated search effort are key ingredients to preventing the kind of local piracy that Guyana has been plagued by recently.
Benn told media that ““between 09:-09:30 hrs, this morning (Sunday), the Maritime Administration started receiving reports that a vessel was in pursuit of another on the Essequibo Coast, along the Pomeroon river… they believed they were being attacked… they were informed that if we did not hear from them they would have been in trouble,”
According to the reports, the fishing vessel tried to outrun the pirates pursuing them, but could not. They then ran aground and abandoned ship. The pirates then raided the boat, removing anything they could get their hands on, including the daily catch of fish and the ship’s fuel.
But Benn was happy to report that “the authorities have been able to recover both the vessel which was under attack and the vessel which was alleged to have committed the act, with their crews… they are both at Charity Police Station, assisting police with investigations.”
The effort was guided by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, which contacted the Guyanese coastguard, the commissioner of police and several other agencies. The effort was aided by law enforcement making 2 helicopters available to quickly transport responders to the scene, and to provide visual aerial support.
The whole operation wrapped up between four and five hours after the initial call was placed.
“We want to remind the mariners and fisher folk to keep contact with the lighthouse and law enforcement bodies, when they see situations arising that cause them to feel threatened, so that they can solicit help,” Benn said.
According to Director of Maritime Safety Stephen Thomas, the pirates and their boat had been positively identified by the victimized crew, which was a prime factor that lead to their capture.