The passenger ferry damaged in last week's explosion. The passenger ferry damaged in last week's explosion.

Officials suspend ferry after explosion in QR

They say insurance and permits had expired, but company denies it

The operations of a ferry company associated with former Quintana Roo governor Roberto Borge Angulo have been suspended in the aftermath of an explosion that injured 26 people last week in Playa del Carmen.

After last Wednesday’s explosion aboard a passenger ferry operated by Barcos Caribe, the federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) said the operator had failed to renew passenger insurance and government-issued permits and certifications.

Officials said passenger insurance had been void for just under a month at the time of the blast.

But company representatives rejected the claim, saying that two days after the explosion officials from the federal Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) conducted their own inspection and provided the company with a document that said all of its permits were in order.

Some of Barcos Caribe’s customers have come out in support of the firm by launching a petition at to denounce the suspension of service. They lamented that if the suspension is permanent “the duopoly [Ultramar and Barcos México] will start to steal from us again.”

Barcos Caribe started running the Playa del Carmen-Cozumel route in 2015 with support from ex-governor Borge, who wanted to see a service that offered passengers lower fares than those of Ultramar and Barcos México.

Later, Borge, through two close collaborators, acquired Barcos Caribe while he was still in office. The former governor is now in jail awaiting trial on corruption charges.

Sponsors of the online petition claim that the fares charged by the two other companies are so high that tourists will stop traveling to Cozumel.

While authorities have declared that the explosion was most likely caused by a mechanical malfunction, less legitimate sources have claimed that it could have been part of a terrorist attack.

On Friday, an abandoned suitcase thought to contain a bomb triggered the evacuation of a marine terminal in Playa del Carmen. But only clothing was found inside.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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