Bay of Campeche piracy warning from JWC

The Joint War Committee (JWC) has issued an advisory that notes the increased criminal activity in the Bay of Campeche. Off the Atlantic coast of Mexico.

It said that offshore assets were being targeted. Adding that significant under-reporting was leaving the full picture unclear.

Armed and violent access to a number of platforms and energy facilities had been reported. The JWC said that typically these incidents had occurred at night, apparently eluding security in place.

“This will be of particular concern to underwriters assessing energy-related business in this area”, said the JWC, adding that it would continue to monitor the situation.

In June the New York Times reported that since the start of 2020 there had been “a stunning surge in piracy in the southern Gulf of Mexico”. That month the US government issued a special security alert about the dangers of pirates in the Mexican waters of the Gulf of Mexico, particularly the vast bight that is the Bay of Campeche, where there is a concentration of offshore oil wells.

The attacks appear to be robbery based rather than the dominant “kidnap for ransom” mode across the Atlantic in the Gulf of Guinea. In the Bay of Campeche the pirates have robbed the crew and, in some cases, stripped the vessels of materials resalable on illegal markets (navigation equipment, fuel, motors, oxygen tanks, construction material and, in several cases, the lights from helicopter landing pads).

There were 16 reported incidents in 2018, 20 in 2019, and 19 in the first half of 2020. The International Transport Workers’ Federation has estimated that there were about 180 thefts and robberies in the Bay of Campeche last year alone.