MARAD Reports Four Pirate Attacks off Ciudad del Carmen

The offshore service vessel Remas was hit by armed robbers for the second time in six months (Micoperi file image)

Published Apr 17, 2020 10:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Maritime Administration has issued a cautionary bulletin advising mariners of a series of four recent pirate attacks near Dos Bocas and Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, in the Bay of Campeche area. 

Four reported attacks took place in this region between April 4 and April 14, according to MARAD, including incidents involving crew injuries and theft. The last previous attack in this area - the boarding of the Italian offshore support vessel Remas - was reported in November of 2019. 

According to the UK outlet Daily Mail, the Remas was again victimized in this series of attacks. Surveillance video obtained by Indian maritime outlet Sea and Coast shows masked, armed men threatening crewmembers on the deck of the Remas. Two seafarers were allegedly injured in the exchange.

The other vessels attacked or approached off Ciudad del Carmen this month included the AHTS Maersk Transporter, the pipelayer Sapura 3500 and the hotel ship Telford 28. 

According to Maersk Supply Service, the attack on Maersk Transporter involved a boarding and robbery, and it did not result in any injuries. The crew have been provided with crisis counseling. 

Telford Offshore has confirmed the attack on Telford 28, saying that the Mexican Navy responded quickly to the incident and attended the vessel. One crewmember was injured in the attack. 

The IMB ICC identified the incident involving the pipelayer as an attempted boarding. According to the agency, the vessel's master was able to prevent the attackers' boat from coming alongside by using the ship's thrusters. 

MARAD has advised shipping to exercise additional caution when transiting the Ciudad del Carmen region. The area is well known for armed robbery incidents targeting offshore facilities and vessels, including attacks that may be attributable to organized crime cartels. 

In the previous attack on the Remas last November, a group of seven or eight pirates approached the vessel in two boats. When the pirates came on deck, crewmember Andrea Di Palma, 42, was shot in the leg, according to Italian paper Corriere de la Serre. His crewmate Vicenzo Grosso, 57, was struck in the head with a blunt object.