Posted on May 18, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
In one of the most violent pirate incidents this year, 20 fishermen were attacked with machetes, and burnt with hot oil, before having their legs tied together with weights and thrown overboard to drown. Now, Reuters have interviewed two of the 5 survivors of the attack.
The Guyanese fisherman were fishing off the coast of Suriname, South America on the 27th March. ARX Maritime reported details of the attack at the time.
The assault on the four fishing boats took place 30miles from the coast. It was described by Guyana’s President David Granger as a “massacre” and a major setback to curbing piracy long rife in the waters off both nations.
Of the twenty fishermen attacked, 12 are still missing, five survived and three bodies have been found.
Reuters spoke to survivor, Deonarine Goberdhan, 47, who has fished for three decades.
Goberdhan begins by saying that he is used to interacting with other vessels, so at first was not surprised when another boat approached.
Yet, the people onboard had obscured their faces with rags, leaving only their eyes uncovered, which is unusual.
The attack started when seven men boarded Guyana-born Goberdhan’s small boat with a gun and long knives, and began beating them.
“They said they would take the boat and that everyone should jump overboard,” he told Reuters.
“I tried to keep my head above water so I could get air. I drank a lot of salt water".
At one point closer to shore, Goberdhan gave up and sank, but fought back to the surface and eventually found passing fishermen who brought him to shore.
‘TWO NIGHTS DRIFTING’
Another survivor, 33-year-old Sherwin Lovell was on one of the other boats:
“The men came with the pot and started burning us with the oil,”
The pirates also cut them and sprayed them with gasoline, as they cowered in crates used to store fish.
“I jumped overboard because they said they would kill everybody,” said Lovell. “I spent two nights on the water drifting. Luckily, the tide carried me to shore.”
Guyana’s Police Commissioner David Ramnarine said the attack appeared to stem from a previous killing on the mainland.
“The basis for this gruesome, heinous and dastardly attack has to do with some sort of retaliation by one of the persons in custody whose brother was allegedly gunned down in a drive-by shooting on March 30 in Suriname,” Ramnarine said.
Suriname’s government temporarily suspended fishing off its coast after the attack. Undeterred, Goberdhan said he would be back on the water soon. “I love it out there.”
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