Fishermen live in fear as piracy rises in Bay of Bengal

Sources say the pirates usually demand a hefty ransom from the families of the fishermen they abduct

Fishermen in the Cox’s Bazar coastal area have been risking their lives every day to make an earning, as a rise in piracy in the Bay of Bengal have led to some 50 fishing trawlers being attacked and looted in the last 15 days alone.

Fishermen and leaders of Cox’s Bazar Fisheryghat Mothso Baboshayi Somobai Samity, a local cooperative, made the claim, adding that robbers had been looting fish and other valuables at gun point.

Pirates recently attacked 12 fishing trawlers in the deep-sea and injured many fishermen, 10 of whom remain missing, said leaders of the cooperative.

Mostak Ahmed, organisational secretary of Cox’s Bazar district Boat Malik Samity, said the Bay of Bengal was now under the control of armed robbers who attacked hundreds of fishermen every day.

Mostak also blamed the local administration of failing to take necessary actions against the criminals.

Sources said around 30,000 fishermen in the area had been passing days in uncertainty, because the pirates grew more active during winter – the prime fishing season.

Seeking anonymity, several fishermen said, around 15 pirate gangs were active from Saint Martin channel of Cox’s Bazar to Tablarchar point of the Sundarbans and Sonarchar point of Patuakhali district. Notorious robbers like Romiz, Harun, Baishya Nagu, Jambu and others led the gangs.

Sources said the pirates usually demand a hefty ransom from the families of the fishermen they abduct. If any family failed to provide the money, the criminals tied up the victim and threw them into the sea.

Tofayel Ahmed, additional superintendent of police of the district, said: “We have a lack of infrastructure including speed boats to rescue the victims. But law enforcers always try to maintain strict security.”

The fishermen said if the situation continued, they would be forced to quit their traditional profession.


Original Article