May 01, 2018 News
Several Guyanese fishermen are said to be missing after a horrific high seas attack over the weekend by persons who are said to be their countrymen.
Up to last evening, Suriname authorities including the Coast Guard, and the boat owners, were out searching for at least 16 crewmembers of four fishing boats.
It is unclear how many of them are actually living in Guyana.
The crewmembers were said to have been beaten, and dumped overboard with batteries tied to legs of a few.
Of the 20 men on board four boats, only four have been accounted for.
According to Ravin Babooram, 18, the son of Dennis Babooram, his father was out with a search party up to last evening.
The attack reportedly occurred Friday evening at a place known to fishermen as Double High Bush, on the Atlantic Ocean, in Suriname waters.
The Babooram family, from Guyana, lives in a place called Commewijne, on the right bank of the Suriname River.
Thousands of Guyanese live in that neighbouring country. It is not unknown for scores of Guyanese fishermen to be working in Suriname waters and would return after every trip.
It has been that way for years now.
There was an angry mood in Suriname yesterday after news broke of the attack. Not finding the 16 missing fishermen would be unthinkable.
According to the young Babooram, aside the huge financial loss, his family is extremely worried and praying for survivors.
“We feel very, very sorry for the families who are presently unsure of their loved ones.”
A number of relatives from Guyana have reportedly journeyed to Suriname yesterday to seek news.
There were no names that were immediately released except that of a Guyanese man, ‘Pattar’ who survived with chop wounds and had made the initial report to a Surinamese police station.
The Dagblad Suriname online news yesterday reported that a boat owner arrived at the police station in Nieuw Amsterdam, on Saturday, and indicated that the crew of one of his vessels on the Atlantic Ocean near the Wia Wia Bank had been robbed by sea pirates.
The police then received the report that four vessels were robbed by pirates.
In the evening, on Saturday, a man appeared with injuries to his body at the same police station.
He indicated that he was a captain of a vessel and that he and his crew had come under attack.
He was ‘Pattar’, the captain of the Romina, the vessel that belonged to the Babooram family.
The captain, according to the news report, stated that he and his crew members on Friday were casting their nets when they saw a vessel coming at them.
They recognized four Guyanese who were all known to the fishermen. The names of the men are Dick, Bolo, Crack Head, Sinbad. Another man, who was unknown, was also in the vessel.
‘Dick’ reportedly fired a warning shot and the fishermen were ordered to lie down in the craft.
The gunmen boarded the fishing vessel and using cutlasses started to chop the crewmen.
The captain and his crew were then instructed to jump overboard.
One of the crew members, who did not know how to swim, disappeared into the depths, according to the Daghblad Suriname report.
When the captain jumped in the water, he was shot at.
He swam away, but could still see how the other crew members who were in the water were being beaten with bamboo sticks on the head.
The captain managed to tread waters until about 2pm when he was rescued by a passing fishing vessel.
The news report said that on Saturday evening, the police received reports of a vessel that had entered with three crewmen.
They were from two different vessels. All three had chop wounds.
Two of the victims of one vessel turned out to be workers of the boat owner, who had earlier reported that the incident.
The story then started to come out. It was four vessels that had been attacked on Friday night.
In all, 16 persons were missing.
Meanwhile, at least one Guyanese family living in Suriname appears to be frantic.
“I was in shock when I heard that my son was missing. I cried all night, and keep crying. I want to see my son. The family in Guyana, among whom his father and brothers are crying,” says Joan Parris.
She wants to know news of her 21-year-old son Glenroy Jones, who is missing.
The De Ware Tijd reported that the search involved officials from the Coast Guard, the Maritime Police, the Navy and fishermen.
This has not been the first case of a pirate attack.
In the past, fishermen from both Guyana and Suriname have been accusing each other of piracy.
A joint task force between the two countries, including security officials, was able to crack a number of pirate gangs forcing incidents down in the last two years.
This particular attack would by any level be one of the worst.
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