British tourists who were held overnight on a riverboat in Peru after getting caught up in a row between an indigenous community and authorities have been released.
The Foreign Office confirmed it was helping a small number of British travellers who were on board the Eduardo 11 when it was seized in a protest, which was said to be over an oil spillage in the country’s Amazon region. One Briton on board, Charlotte Wiltshire, said in a message to the BBC that conditions had been “starting to deteriorate” as they were beginning to run out of food and water.
She had called for an “intervention” to rescue them, adding there were pregnant, elderly and sick people among those detained. Some 98 passengers were on board the vessel, including 23 foreigners from Britain, Germany, Spain and France, according to the Associated Press.
It is understood they have now been transferred to another boat to continue their journey. Here is all you need to know:
What have the Foreign Office said?
A spokesperson for the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said: “We are providing assistance to a very small number of British nationals in Peru, and are in contact with the Peruvian authorities.”
British, German, Spanish and French tourists are said to have been detained on the riverboat after getting caught up in the protest in Peru. BBC have reported that at least three Britons were on the boat.
Why are there protests in Peru?
According to local reports by TV Peru Noticias, indigenous Cuninico people took control of the Maranon river in the Urarinas, northern Peru, in a demonstration over an oil leak in the area on 16 September. The channel reported that the protesters demanded that their government should find a solution to the leak and declare a “state of emergency” in the Urarinas in the meantime.
One protester told the channel: “We are asking that they can declare a state of emergency in the Urarinas area for the oil contamination taking place in our territory. We ask that a high-level commission, presided over by the president of the republic, can get here.”
An indigenous leader later told the AP they would continue to block passage to boats on the river until they received support from their government.