Thursday, December 7, 2023

Pirates ignore quarantine, attack four ships in one week

Pirates are not respecting the coronavirus quarantine guidelines and continue to attack ships off the coast of the Mexican state of Tabasco, just as they have done for centuries.

Last week alone, armed pirates assaulted four ships off the coast of Puerto Dos Bocas. 

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 gun-toting pirates who ordered the crew to stop the ship and scoured the vessel for valuables, injuring two crew members. The incident was recorded by the ship’s security cameras. 

The 75-meter-long vessel was also attacked in November 2019 by seven armed pirates who attacked in fast boats. One crew member was shot in that incident. 

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. 

The pirate attacks were reported to Mexican port authorities. 

The pirates’ bounty included crew members’ belongings and sophisticated communication and navigation equipment, which is typically sold on the black market.

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

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.

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.”

Source: Reforma (sp), Business Insider (en)

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