HomeNewsBriefPirates Threatening Brazilian Amazon Highlight Regional Security Concern
BRIEF

Pirates Threatening Brazilian Amazon Highlight Regional Security Concern

BRAZIL / 22 NOV 2016 BY LUIS FERNANDO ALONSO AND DAVID GAGNE EN

Marauding pirates represent a growing threat along the Amazon river in Brazil, the New York Times reports, but this remote outpost is not the only place in Latin America where piracy is becoming a greater security concern. 

Police forces in Brazil are struggling to curtail river piracy in the Amazon river basin, as a series of recent attacks have terrorized riverboat crews and their passengers, reported the New York Times. This September, nearly a dozen men raided a ship near the port city of Belém, robbing some 260 passengers. The following month, armed pirates commandeered a fuel ship, stealing more than 2,600 gallons of diesel fuel, along with the crew’s personal items.

“Every riverboat captain knows they’re at the mercy of these bastards,” said Merinaldo Paiva, whose passengers were held up at gunpoint by pirates in April.

While piracy is a longstanding issue in the Amazon, boat operators told the Times they fear the groups are becoming more savvy in choosing their victims. Galdino Alencar, the president of a boater’s union in the state of Amazonas, said that pirates are now focused on going after large cargo ships, especially those carrying fuel.

    SEE ALSO: Brazil News and Profiles

Due to the expansive and remote terrain that the Amazon encompasses, as well as the sparse police presence, combating river piracy has proven elusive for authorities. 

“There’s no law on the Amazon River,” one local fisherwoman told the newspaper.

InSight Crime Analysis

Many of the factors fueling piracy on Brazil’s Amazon are also contributing to robberies on rivers, lakes and the high seas in other parts of the region. In the last few years, there have been multiple reports of armed pirates boarding ships and looting passengers in the near-by Peruvian Amazon region. 

Meanwhile, Venezuelan pirates involved in a host of criminal activities have attacked fishermen and stolen machinery from petroleum platforms on Lake Maracaibo, causing delays in oil production. And off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, pirates strapped with AK-47s have reportedly taken to hijacking fishing boats, using the vessels to transport drugs or other contraband items. Fishermen say the pirates offer large sums of money in exchange for their complicity. Those that refuse the offer are rarely heard from again. 

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Related Content

BRAZIL / 23 AUG 2011

The latest anti-crime initiative in Brazil involves interactive websites where citizens can anonymously report crimes, which are placed on a…

BRAZIL / 19 JUL 2018

The arrest of an alleged Brazilian crime boss in Paraguay’s capital city illustrates how police corruption and sophisticated tactics may…

BRAZIL / 12 NOV 2019

Authorities dismantled a transnational human smuggling ring that brought migrants from South Asia to Brazil and then transported them all…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…