HomeNewsFishermen Fight Off Pirate Attacks in Ecuador
NEWS

Fishermen Fight Off Pirate Attacks in Ecuador

ECUADOR / 1 JUL 2021 BY KATIE JONES EN

Fishermen in Ecuador have taken matters into their own hands to combat pirate attacks that have long plagued the nation's coastal provinces.

On June 28, media outlet Ecuavisa reported that fishermen had set fire to a boat docked at the port of Santa Rosa in the western coastal province of Santa Elena. The vessel had reportedly been used several times by pirates to steal motors from fishing boats at sea.

The fishermen claimed to have attacked due to authorities failing to prevent maritime crime, according to Ecuavisa.

SEE ALSO: Ecuador's Cocaine Pirates: Part I

A day after the attack, fishing union representatives met with Santa Elena’s governor, Fulton Edulfo Anchundia Pacheco, members of the navy and police to demand that the fishing sector was recognized as being in a state of emergency.

At the meeting, Ramón González Suárez, a local fisheries cooperative leader, detailed how pirate attacks had plagued the port for years and that officials had done nothing to resolve the problem.

In response, authorities promised to step up maritime controls and asked fishermen to report attacks to the Attorney General’s Office, the media outlet added.

In January of this year, pirates raided seven fishing boats off the coast of Santa Elena’s port of Anconcito, also located in the canton of Salinas, Expreso reported. During the robbery, heavily armed thieves reportedly stole six of the seven boats and 15 engines in total, leaving one fisherman injured.

Groups of heavily armed pirates working along Ecuador’s western coast have targeted small fishing vessels for years to steal their motors, which are in high demand and sell for thousands of dollars on the black market. As InSight Crime reported, these engines are then often used onboard boats transporting drugs.

InSight Crime Analysis

Engine theft by pirates has plagued the coast of Santa Elena and other Ecuadorian provinces for decades, raising questions over why authorities have failed to target the crime.

Those who want to avoid attack must pay pirates $100- 150 per month for their safety, according to a 2019 report from El Comercio. Those who resist are often killed or injured at sea during robberies.

SEE ALSO: Pirates Control Ocean Between Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago

Speaking in 2019, González shared how for over 25 years, fishermen working from Santa Rosa had been subjected to robberies, assaults and extortion, but that no substantial security plan had been put forward.

While authorities have opened investigations and proposed carrying out reactive patrols in some provinces, little has been done to substantially target the problem. This has meant some fishermen are now deterred from reporting attacks, adding another layer to a vicious circle.

And while attacks off the coast appear to have been somewhat reduced during the pandemic, they remain a concern to fishermen who risk their lives and have scarce economic alternatives.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

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.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ECUADOR / 11 JUL 2011

The arrest of a suspected member of the Russian mafia in Ecuador has prompted a U.S. official to describe it…

ECUADOR / 5 FEB 2014

Prosecutors in Ecuador are investigating a wave of extortions believed to have been carried out by the same criminal group,…

COCAINE / 12 APR 2021

While authorities in Ecuador tally record cocaine seizures, a change to the criminal code in the Andean country has possibly…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Guatemala Social Insecurity Investigation Makes Front Page News

10 DEC 2021

InSight Crime’s latest investigation into a case of corruption within Guatemala's social security agency linked to the deaths of patients with kidney disease made waves in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…