Warn­ing for yacht own­ers af­ter surge of piracy in Caribbean

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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