Pirates off Puntarenas attack and board fishing boat

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública photo These are the two confiscated boats

Pirates in the Pacific coast are becoming bolder. Six men in three small boats boarded a larger fishing boat Saturday, held the crew at gunpoint and made off with cash and navigation equipment.

The boat is the PoteKan, and the robbery took place just a half a nautical mile off Barrio El Carmen, Puntarenas.

Smaller boats have been attacked further down the Pacific coast. Even a yacht with a foreign flag has been boarded in the vicinity of Quepos. Usually the pirates avoid larger fishing boats that have a number of crewmen. There were seven persons on the PoteKan, investigators said.

Miguel Madrigal, deputy director of the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, said his officers heard about the robbery about 3 p.m. Saturday. A patrol boat was able to pull up near the fishing boat and learn first-hand what happened.

The bandits fled in three open boats in three directions, said the Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública.Coast guard crewmen located an open boat that matched the description of one used in the robbery abandoned on a beach at Barrio 20 de Noviembre.

A second patrol boat crew intercepted another open boat that resembled one used in the robbery. There were four men on board. Officers detained the men and found ski masks, an air rifle and a toy pistol on board. The men were taken to the coast guard station in Puntarenas, but a prosecutor later freed the men because there was limited evidence that they were involved in the crime, said the ministry.

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