The U.S. issues alert for ‘Pirate’ attacks in the Gulf of Mexico


The US embassy reported that armed criminal groups attack and steal commercial vessels, oil platforms and supply vessels on the high seas.

The United States government has warned of the threat posed by ‘pirates’ to ships and oil facilities in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

The US State Department updated its travel alerts and included these assaults that it indicates have occurred in Campeche Bay where armed criminal groups attack and steal commercial ships and oil platforms and supply vessels on the high seas.

The Maritime Administration of the US Government reported on its website that at least 20 fishing boats and 35 oil platforms and supply vessels have been targeted by ‘pirates’ and armed thieves since January 2018 in the area. At least five of these attacks occurred in April 2020.

“A significant underreporting of attacks in this area is suspected. These attacks have involved the discharge of firearms, crew injuries, hostage-taking and robbery,” the alert issued on May 11 read.

In the alert issued, the U.S. government asked U.S. sailors planning to travel to Mexico to search for U.S. maritime notices and alerts at , including instructions on how to report suspicious activities and attacks on the Mexican naval authorities and prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations.

It should be noted that there are no travel restrictions for officials from that country in the entity, which includes tourist areas in the cities of Campeche, Calakmul and Edzna.

Pirates attack 6 ships in one week in the Gulf of Mexico. VIDEO of one attack

 armed pirates have attacked at least six ships in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Maersk Transporter

In the most recent attack, the Maersk Transporter, an offshore supply ship, was boarded by armed pirates late on 12 April offshore Ciudad Del Carmen, Mexico. The pirates boarded the ship, stole various items and left the vessel again, Maersk said in an email to the industry publication Offshore Engineer.

This most recent incident took place in roughly the same area as another attack which took place four days earlier.

Attack on the Remas – April 9th

The offshore supply vessel Remas was attacked on April 9th

On April 9 at around 10:30 p.m., the offshore supply vessel Remas,  located 70 nautical miles offshore and owned by the Italian company Micoperi, was boarded by at least three pirates carrying guns who ordered the crew to stop the ship and scoured the vessel for valuables, injuring two crew members.

The attack on the Remas on April 9th is the third such attack on the vessel in the past 6 months. In November 2019 the Remas was attacked by seven armed pirates who in fast boats. One crew member was shot in that incident. A video of the attack was captured by the ship’s onboard cameras (see featured video above).

Other vessels under siege by pirates last week in the Gulf of Mexico include the Panamanian pipeline-laying ship Sapura 3500, the Mexican supply ship Remington, and the Vanuatu-flagged Achiever. 

File Photo; Telford 28 – Image by BEVALDIA Diving Services Dry Ship Repairs – MarineTraffic

And finally, in yet another incident this past week, the offshore vessel provider Telford Offshore’s offshore accommodation and hook-up unit Telford 28 was attacked earlier on April 14th while anchored in Mexico. One crew member was injured.

After a fourfold increase in acts of piracy in the Gulf last year, the Mexican navy established four monitoring zones which will be patrolled through 2024.

Pirate crews have also attacked Gulf of Mexico oil platforms to loot equipment.

The Mexican oil company Pemex operates more than 100 oil platforms in the Gulf off the coasts of Campeche and Tabasco where pirate attacks have increased dramatically. 

Last year, Mike Vigil, former chief of international operations for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, called Gulf of Mexico piracy “the wave of the future.”


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