Aqua Expeditions' m/v Aqua is resilient and remains fearless after experiencing two incidents, within two weeks, of bandits jumping the ship and robbing the passengers onboard. The luxury Amazon River cruise ship is returning to its regular schedule, says Francesco Galli Zugaro, CEO of Aqua Expeditions, in the wake of two unprecedented robbery incidents that shocked Peru.
"I am enormously relieved that nobody was hurt in these episodes, that arrests have been made and some stolen possessions returned," said Galli Zugaro. "I am confident that the steps taken by the national and regional government will return the region to the haven of tranquility for which it is renowned."
In an effort to reassure potential travelers on safety, Miguel Hidalgo Medina, the director general of Peru's National Police, has announced the coordination of a joint strategy with the Peruvian Navy to protect the rivers of Loreto Province, where the robbery-assaults occurred. Medina indicated that the scope of operation would concentrate on Nauta, in the Maranon River; Yucuruchi, Bagazan and Genero Herrera in the Ucayali River, and Sinchicuy.
"The plans are being coordinated by the government of Loreto Province and the National Police," added Peru's Interior Minister, Octavio Salazar, "so that together we can institute a plan of action for national defense."
The zone to be policed includes more than 10,000 kilometers of navigable rivers. "It is a vast area," Salazar observed," but we are committed to securing the tourism infrastructure of the region."
Medina also announced that 140 recent graduates of Iquitos' Police Academy will be trained for river protection. "We would like to assure visitors coming to the Peruvian Amazon that the police, navy, and local authorities will be watching over their safety," he stressed.
The first post-incident Aqua cruise departed on August 8 with a passenger complement that included famed New York food and travel writer, Gael Greene. "I was concerned about bandits, tarantulas and snakes but saw none," said Greene, "what I did see was a team of totally devoted professional guides, chefs and crew; when reluctant to walk muddy trails the guides encouraged me and I then saw wonderful and amazing things."
All Aqua departures are guaranteed to operate and the ship is sailing again tonight for its regular four-night program.