Offshore Supply Vessel Attacked off the Coast of Mexico

offshore vessel attacked near Mexico
Natalie - courtesy of Cuxhavener Schiffahrtskontor (CSK) GmbH & Co.

Published Jul 27, 2020 3:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

An offshore supply vessel has reportedly been attached in the waters near the Mexican state of Veracruz. This latest attack highlights the increasing dangers for seafarers in the Bay of Campeche area of the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Dryad Global is reported that on July 24 the Mexican-flagged offshore supply vessel the Natalie was boarded. The incident took place overnight with the vessel be boarded under the cover of darkness. At the time of the attack, the supply vessel was approximately 12 nautical miles northeast of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico. The Natalie is believed to be currently under the management of Cuxhavener Schiffahrtskontor (CSK) GmbH & Co., a shipping and port agency based in Cuxhaven, Germany.

Dryad is reporting receipt of a message from the crew saying, “We would like to inform you that at this moment pirates are getting on board the ship Natalie which is near the ODIN platform.” The report says that the crew were subjected to a violent armed boarding and robbery of personal belongings but it is unknown if the crew was kidnapped or injured nor if any of the cargo aboard the ship was stolen.

This area near Mexico has been coming under increasing attack with a broad range of vessels, including other supply ships, oil platforms, fishing vessels and other commercial ships, all having been targeted. The US Government recently issued a warning about dangers in the region.

At least five vessels were attacked in April 2020 with Dryad’s analysis showing that a total of 20 fishing vessels and 35 oil platforms and offshore supply vessels have been targeted in the Bay of Campeche area since January 2018. This has included the use of guns resulting in thief, crew injuries and hostage situations according to Dryad. However, it is believed that attacks in region are being under reported, especially against larger commercial vessels.

The ICC International Maritime Bureau recently reported that attacks on seafarers were on the increase in 2020. The IMB report cites four attacks in Mexico all targeting offshore vessels and happened within an 11-day period in April. One anchored accommodation barge the IMB said was boarded by six people wearing face masks and armed with automatic weapons and pistols. They attempted to enter and opened fire, injuring a crew member and damaging three windows. Despite raising the alarm and a naval boat being dispatched the attackers reportedly escaped with high-value project equipment.

Local authorities are continuing to investigate the current incident and Dryad is monitoring for additional details regarding the status of the crew and the attack.