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There were five days left until Christmas 2018 and 12 hours to finish the fishing day. It was Thursday, 6:00 PM, 20 nautical miles from the shores of Esmeraldas. The sea was calm. Nothing out of the ordinary until the criminals of the sea arrived, hooded, with pistols and swearwords.
Quiet ch … you move and I kill you! The same phrase over and over again for an hour while intimidating them to arms. Praying was the only thing left to ‘Juan’, an Esmeralda fisherman with 38 years of experience and victim of two robberies that he keeps in his memory.
From the first robbery, which occurred six years ago, he learned that staying still is the smartest thing. In that time he moved. The first blow he received was in the back, boom! then a kick until the cachazo arrived on the head and the blood began to run towards the right shoulder. The lesson he learned with blood.
Left to drift
In the second robbery, he barely breathed and begged his God to allow him to return home to share Christmas with his wife and daughters. His request was heard, but first he had to live a Calvary. His kidnappers took him to the ‘tours’ of terror.
That night the ‘pirates’, as fishermen call them sea criminals, stole seven boats under a simple and repeated mode: frighten the crew, upload them to another boat and then leave them adrift in the oldest the fibers: without motor, cellular and with more swearwords.
That night one of the fishermen with a two-engine boat was not willing to lose his investment of more than $ 20,000. When he saw the pirates, he cut the tram-net he had thrown into the sea and started to escape. The criminals also did not want to lose the loot and followed it. They fired and one of the shots lodged in the back of the artisan of the sea.
The officer of the fisherman took the post and managed to reach land. He saved himself from dying but still can not return to his tasks. Everything that happened is officialized with complaints before the Prosecutor’s Office of Aquatic Crimes of Esmeraldas.
No work on land
Sixteen days after that fact, there are no reports of arrests or recovery of the engines and boats that took the antisocial that night of December 20, 2018. ‘Juan’ has no hope that the maritime authority will call him to tell him that they recovered your engine That is why he is thinking about renewing his credit and buying another engine valued at $ 7,700.
“I hope that the gentlemen of the bank help me with the money,” he said with faith, the man who after the robbery has not returned to the high seas. At home they would like him not to return, but it is clear that without that income the economic situation would become much more complicated.
“Besides, what do I do on land, nobody gives me a job and I need to pay the debts and support my family?”, Asked the man with leather tanned by the years of solar punishment, who after 16 days of the robbery He suffered at sea, decided to tell his time of horror.
They steal us for drug trafficing
For ‘Juan’, a fisherman assaulted on December 20 on the high seas, one of the reasons for the constant theft of fishermen on the high seas is to use the boats and engines in drug trafficking activities.
He assures that, as it is known, in the Artisanal Fishing Port the stolen boats after arriving at their destination with the drug shipment, are destroyed to avoid leaving evidence.
Systematic increase in thefts
Since 2009 in Esmeraldas began to take a record of the assaults on the high seas, until 2012, sea criminals only aimed at the engines.
In 2009 they took 65; then 61; after 72, and in 2012 the figure doubled, reached 172, with a plus, that year already reported 39 boats lost.
In 2013, the theft of 181 engines and 40 fibers was reported, the highest figure to date. In 2014, when the missile corvettes were anchored in front of Esmeraldas and some suspects were arrested, the statistics dropped to 92 engines and 20 boats.
From 2015 to 2017, every year the cases did not lower 107 motor thefts. Between the three years the pirates took 385 engines and 142 boats.
Until November 2018, according to figures from the Harbor Master’s Office, there was a report of the theft of 50 boats and 152 engines, of which nine fibers and six engines had been recovered. In December, 19 engines and seven stolen boats were the balance to close the year.
|Pirates arrested per year|
|2018||7 in Colombia|
November 21, 2017
Yilso Palma Ardila
Sistotilo Alarcón Guerrero
July 23, 2018
Antonio Banguera Reascos
Ignacio Zambrano Bravo
José Wilton Cortez Caicedo
August 16, 2018
Alberto Cedeño Rengifo
Julio Zamora Cabezas.
Source: La Hora