Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pirates Strike Amazon River Cruiser

When New Zealand's revered Sir Peter Blake was killed by pirates in 2001 on the Amazon River, it was thought to be a one-off experience, but yachts thinking of venturing up the Amazon River should be aware that a tourist vessel has been raided by pirates and the passengers robbed this week on the Amazon River.

Aqua Expeditions, river boat expedition operators, who run luxury tours on the Amazon, have announced that the MV Aqua (pictured below right), its Amazon river cruise ship, was boarded this week by six armed bandits who robbed passengers of money and valuables.

There were 24 passengers and 21 crew members onboard at the time of the incident. The incident lasted less than an hour and nobody was hurt.

Aqua Expeditions is a Peruvian company, and the Peru Minister of Tourism Martin Perez has since said the government has launched an investigation into the incident. 'My first priority is to ensure that safety measures are immediately set in place to ensure this cannot ever happen again,' Perez said in a statement.

The remoteness of the Amazon means that other attacks may have been under-reported, if they were on local vessels.

Other reports have indicated that there are armed pirates operating on the river, who are better equipped than the police and sometimes pose as police to dupe their victims.

The Sir Peter Blake Incident:

Sir Peter Blake was a New Zealander who won the America's Cup in 1995 and 2000. He was killed in December, 2001 by pirates during a holdup aboard 'Seamaster,' his 36-metre yacht, which was anchored off the town of Macapa on the Amazon River.

Sir Peter, who shot first, died at the scene from a gunshot wound by one of a group of pirates who had boarded their yacht as they were enjoying a sundowner in the cockpit.

Federal Police in Macapa later arrested seven men after police launched a manhunt.

Source: / BW Media

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