Warning for yacht owners after surge of piracy in Caribbean
Oceans Beyond Piracy, which compiled the survey, said that a majority of the attacks had been off the coast of Venezuela, which is currently engulfed by political turmoil and hyperinflation.
The local fishing industry, which used to operate in the Caribbean waters off Venezuela’s northern coast, has been in difficulty in recent years, causing many to turn to drug trafficking and – increasingly – sea robbery.
The trend has direct echoes of the Somali piracy crisis, where impoverished fishermen likewise turned to hijacking vessels after the country’s collapse into lawlessness in the Nineties. ‘‘The incidents we’ve logged have been concentrated mainly in Venezuelan waters,’’ Maisie Pigeon, pictured, the report’s lead author, said. ‘‘As in Somalia, insecure areas on land can breed wider insecurity at sea.’’
The warning comes as Venezuela continues to lurch towards all-out collapse, following new international sanctions imposed on Caracas after Sunday’s disputed election, which returned socialist president Nicolas Maduro to power.
Maduro, who denies claims that the election was rigged, responded to the sanctions by expelling two US diplomats on Tuesday. Hyperinflation caused by Maduro’s continuation of his predecessor Hugo Chavez’s command-economy nationalisation policies has hit particularly hard in poor Venezuelan coastal states such as Sucre, where fishing was once of the sole livelihood. Such is the shortage of goods on the shelves that some of Sucre’s pirates now make a living smuggling nappies and other basic goods from Trinidad. - Telegraph Group