Pirates attack Amazon Discovery, passengers robbed; Delfin issues statement

Pirates attack Amazon Discovery, passengers robbed; Delfin issues statement

LORETO — Passengers onboard the Amazon Discovery endured a terrifying ordeal yesterday when the river cruise vessel was attacked by Peruvian pirates.

According to reports, eight men armed with large-caliber weapons took control of the ship at 3 a.m. Thursday morning. They pistol-whipped the 65-year old captain of the ship and robbed passengers of possessions and money worth some US$20,000. The passengers are said to include 33 Peruvians, 20 Americans, six Australians and two New Zealanders.

Delfin Amazon Cruises issued the following statement on Thursday night: “We regret to confirm that on Thursday, July 14, 2016, in the early hours, there was a robbery onboard the Amazon Discovery. The vessel’s captain and the cruise director have confirmed that all guests are safe and none were physically harmed during the incident.

“The safety of guests aboard the ship is of utmost importance to Delfin Amazon Cruises, which owns and operates Amazon Discovery. This isolated incident – the first in the company’s 10 years of cruising the Amazon – is not reflective of the Amazon region today, which continues to be an increasingly desirable destination for visitors.

“Staff onboard the Amazon Discovery and at its Lima headquarters have further advanced measures to ensure the safety of its current and future passengers.”

Delfin said it is implementing a Peruvian river cruising protection strategy that includes the presence of permanent surveillance staff onboard. The vessel will also be accompanied by further security in a green speedboat marked ‘Policia de Turismo’.

The Amazon Discovery and its staff have enlisted the support of local and national government authorities, added Delfin. PROMPERÚ, the tourism and exports promotion board of Peru, is working with Delfin Amazon Cruises to ensure the security measures described previously will be implemented effective immediately.

Peruvian police have opened an investigation of the incident to identify and apprehend responsible parties.

Passenger documents with sensitive information (such as passports) were in the possession of the cruise director and have been safely returned to their owners, said Delfin.

Guests of the Amazon Discovery have returned safely to the embarkation port at Iquitos and will fly to Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima and arrangements were made with local tour operator partners for guests to continue their travels within Peru or to return home.