Oil rigs are being frequently targeted by pirates. Oil rigs are being frequently targeted by pirates.

Pirates attack Gulf of Mexico oil rig, lock up crew and loot the contents

The Oro Negro rig is anchored off the coast of Campeche

Pirates attacked and plundered an oil rig last Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico, locking up the crew while they looked for loot.

Witnesses said at least six men armed with guns and knives boarded the rig at 9:30pm and proceeded directly to the third floor to wake up the crew. After locking up workers in the cafeteria, the thieves wandered freely, looting equipment, materials, money and anything of value they could carry.

The pirates departed at 4:00 am on Monday, when the rig’s captain sent an emergency alert to authorities. The navy responded 4 1/2 hours later. The crew and company lawyers have spent this week in interviews and taking inventory of damaged or stolen items, which have still not been fully identified.

It was not the first heist of this kind in the Gulf of Mexico, where pirate attacks are becoming a growing threat to oil rigs. On March 12, President López Obrador announced that the navy would maintain permanent operations off the coast of Dos Bocas, Tabasco, to protect against pirates that have in the past attacked Pemex oil rigs.

The rig that was targeted Sunday, called Fortius, is anchored several kilometers off the shore of Campeche. When fully staffed it has a total capacity of 150 people, but it is currently manned by a small maintenance team.

The owner, Mexican oilfield services firm Oro Negro, declared bankruptcy in September 2017, and is currently in the middle of a US $900-million negotiation with debtholders over the future of five oil rigs, including Fortius.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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