7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Sailors warned of pirate attack

BAHRAINI fishermen have been warned to be on the alert against pirates, following an attack on a Kuwaiti boat.The pirates were chased away by the American assault ship, Bonhomme Richard, after it received a distress call from the Kuwaiti boat in the northern Gulf.

Bahraini fishermen have not encountered any pirates this year, but suffered a series of attacks last year, said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife fisheries resources director Jassim Al Qaseer.

Nevertheless, sailors must be very careful and not take such matters lightly, he said.

"Sailors should never berth when aiding another boat in distress," said Mr Al Qaseer. "The way these pirates get their way basically is by putting up a show.

"They would act as if their engine has broken down or their boat is sinking, which will get fishermen to come and offer help.

"Once the two boats are tied together, weapons are be pulled out and the pirates take control of the fishermen's boat.

"Fishermen must keep on the move, no matter what they see.

"We have encountered some cases where pirates shot at fishermen as soon as they got into range."

Mr Al Qaseer said fishermen should never tie up to another boat and should make sure the distress call is genuine.

They should call the Coastguard if they have any doubts, or need help.

Mr Al Qaseer also said the weather might also be hindering the pirates.

"The attacks usually take place in the summer when the sea is calmer," said Mr Al Qaseer.

"These pirates use small boats which are dangerous to sail in the winter, when the sea can become quite turbulent."

Last year's pirate attacks on Bahraini fishermen took place in international waters, making it hard to discover where the pirates came from.

"They speak in various accents and languages, some in Arabic, others in Persian," said Mr Al Qaseer.

"Their guns are smuggled in from the bigger neighbouring countries, where such weapons can be bought by almost anyone," he said.

"That is why we cannot state exactly where these pirates originate."

There were several incidents of Bahraini fishermen being robbed of their catches and equipment last year.

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