Gulf of Nicoya towns uniting against pirate threat

Modern day pirates are invading communities along the coast of the Gulf of Nicoya and  attacking fishing boats there, too.

Some 13 communities are forming a network to work against the sea-going crooks, but spokesmen say that private efforts are not enough. They said they seek more official protection.

The Fundación MarViva and the U.S. Embassy are supporting the formation of the network, said a statement from the foundation.

Friday some eight pirates invaded the fishing community of  Puerto Pochote near Tambor on the west coast of  the gulf. They attacked a guard, stole two boats, five motors and gasoline and took other fishing necessities.

The foundation said that this was not the first time that the community was invaded.

There have been at least two more similar incidents during the year, and at least twice the pirates tied up the guard and threw him into the mangroves where he managed to escape by swimming, said the foundation.

Friday the guard was beaten so badly he required treatment at the Hospital La Anexión in Nicoya, it said.

The victims of the crime Friday said they thought that the pirates used the stolen boats to rob later fishermen who were on the gulf, said the foundation.

The security network that is being formed will cover the area from the mouth of the Río Tempique, communities along the shore and also those on some of the islands in the gulf.

Community leaders said they wanted more patrols by the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas and the Fuerza Pública.  They said that officials had limited interest in the pirate problem.

There have been continual crimes against isolated fishing boats in the gulf and also on the Pacific. In southwestern Costa Rica pirates have been known to hide among the many inlets. Other crooks are involved in illegal fishing and also drug trafficking.

Some of the pirate groups have been known to prey on tourists who had their crafts at anchor near the coast.

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