Update: Aqua Expeditions Alters Cruise Itinerary to Avoid Bandits

August 13, 2009
Aqua Expeditions' Aqua River Ship (August 13, 11:42 a.m. EDT) -- Update: Aqua Expeditions has returned to its regular itinerary schedule. Peru's National Police and Navy have joined forces to protect the rivers of Loreto Province, which is where the recent robberies occurred.

(August 6, 6:46 p.m. EDT) -- After being robbed by armed bandits twice in two weeks, luxury river cruise line Aqua Expeditions is altering its Amazon itinerary and working with government authorities to increase security for tourists on the Amazon River.

Cruise Critic reported earlier today that armed bandits stormed the river ship Aqua on Tuesday during an early morning rainstorm and stole money and valuables from 20 holidaymakers onboard. The bandits subdued two onboard police officers, who were stationed on the ship following the previous robbery on July 26. According to an official company statement, six robbers attacked the ship, rather than the nine reported earlier. Nor were any passengers bound or gagged.

The statement goes on to say that beginning this Saturday, Aqua will change its itinerary to avoid the area of the previous incidents. All of the points of interest will remain the same, but the ship will visit them in a different order than is published on the company's Web site and in other promotional materials. The change has been made so the bandits will not know where and when to expect the ship.

Aqua Expeditions' CEO Francesco Galli Zugaro is meeting with Peru's Minister of Tourism, Head of Police and Department of Defense to develop a plan "to guarantee the safety of the Peruvian tourism industry and visitors to the country." Safety measures being put into place include escorts and onboard security guards for all Amazon River ships and the addition of a patrol station halfway through the itinerary and an increase in patrol boats.

--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor