Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Protecting tourists by air, land and sea

A police helicopter flies over the port of Limon as cruise tourists disembark. (Photo: Mario Carvajal/La Nacion)Police tightens security in the city of Limon after mugger attack

By Johan Umana and Marvin Carvajal
Translated by Uri Ridelman

Limon (La Nacion) - A helicopter, a small plane, two speedboats, four patrol cars, eight motorcycles, four mounted police officers and three officers on bikes are being deployed to protect the visitors to the port city of Limon.

These deployments, which include 62 police officers in total, are a result of the promises made by the ministers of tourism and security, Carlos Ricardo Benavides and Fernando Berrocal respectively, to safeguard the arrival of international cruises.

The operation involves the participation of the Public Force and the Tourist Police along with other services of the Security Ministry.

Luis Hernandez, regional director of the Public Force, said that police protection has been emphasized in some of the most attractive places for tourists, including the cities of Limon, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Siquirres, along with Playa Bonita and the area of Moin.

On Sunday three new cruises arrived to Costa Rica with at least 1000 tourists and yesterday another one disembarked. The arrival of cruise ships is vital to the economy and commerce of this Caribbean port.

On February 21, three armed assailants tried to rob a bus full of cruise tourists in Limon but one of the muggers was killed by a U.S. military veteran in his 70s while the other two flew away and haven't been captured yet. The tourists had arrived in the ship Liberty of Carnival Cruise Lines.

After the incident the arrival of the cruise ship "Legend" was canceled, but after meeting with government officials, and promises of improved security, Carnival representatives said the company has agreed to continue operations in the country.

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