Maritime Security

Amazon Piracy Task Force Established to Combat River Attacks

Brazilian Authorities have set up an anti-piracy task force in Guajará Bay this month to combat increasingly violent pirate attacks in that area of the Amazon River.  A surge of recent attacks are responsible for the decision to deploy 50 officers and eight speed boats to tackle the ever increasing problem.  Recently an attack took place involving eleven armed men who boarded a passenger vessel and robbed its 104 passengers and crew.  In the attack the thieves approached their target in small speedboats, firing into the air to force its Captain to comply with their boarding. Witnesses stated the men, armed with pistols and revolvers, threatened to execute passengers and even aimed their guns at the heads of children onboard.

Local mariners report attacks are becoming increasingly common, particularly in Pará, a sprawling, sparsely-policed region. In March this year a sailor in his 20’s was killed when two boatloads of pirates raided his vessel as it transported fruit along the river.  Last month two more sailors were shot by pirates in the neighbouring state of Amazonas.  Police blamed a group known as the “Black River Pirates”.

World famous yachtsman Sir Peter Blake KBE was murdered by Pirates on 6 December 2001 whilst on a two month expedition to the Amazon River monitoring global warming and pollution for the United Nations.

The Anti Piracy task force will tackle crime on the largest hydrographic basin in the world.