Coast Guard seizes 1,395 lbs of cocaine from smuggling vessel off Central American coast

By U.S. Coast Guard 11th District Pacific Southwest Public Affairs

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Coast Guard seized approximately 1,395 pounds of cocaine in late-July with an estimated value of $24 million from a go-fast vessel in international waters of the Pacific Ocean off Central America.

A maritime patrol aircraft spotted a suspected smuggling vessel and diverted the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) to the go-fast vessel’s position.

Once on scene, Bertholf’s crew launched a small-Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) to locate the suspected smugglers. After the suspected smugglers complied with orders to stop their boat, the Coast Guard crew boarded the vessel and discovered approximately 1,395 pounds of cocaine. Three suspected smugglers aboard the vessel were detained.

On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.

The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, homeported in Alameda, was commissioned in 2008.

Source: content.govdelivery.com

Pirates of the Bay of Campeche: Amateurs at work

By

The first thing to realize when considering any aspect of lawlessness in Mexico, including in Mexican and adjacent waters, is that Mexico is a thoroughly corrupt country.

The corruption is historic, endemic and permeates every aspect of Mexican life. This corruption is directly responsible for the lawlessness that has allowed criminal gangs of all stripes to take over daily life in Mexico, and now they have extended their range to offshore oil installations.

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Source: workboat.com

Amid a Pandemic, the Jolly Roger Flies High

Asia, West Africa and the Americas experience upticks in naval gang attacks as the coronavirus pandemic stirs fears of increasing piracy.

By Kevin Drew

Late at night in the Singapore Strait, the five men quietly pulled their small speedboat alongside the bulk cargo vessel Vega Aquarius and climbed aboard the much larger ship. The men, armed with knives, were noticed by an on-duty crewman while they were on the stern of the deck.

The men rushed the crewman, who managed to escape after his cell phone was seized. Alarms were raised throughout the ship, deck lights came on and the ship’s full crew was mustered. A ship-wide search failed to find the thieves but revealed that two sets of breathing apparatus were stolen. The attacked seaman sustained minor head injuries.

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Source: usnews.com

Call grows to flag Mexico’s Gulf as high-risk

By Rebecca Conan

Mexico’s Campeche sound should be declared a high-risk area by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) amid rising numbers of armed attacks on oil and natural gas vessels and platforms, maritime experts say.

“One of the main reasons for the increase in these attacks is weak ocean governance and the non-existence of maritime security policy,” Adriana Avila, academic at the World Maritime University, said in presenting her research today on the resurgence of organized crime in the Gulf of Mexico.

Avila, with Dimitrios Dalaklis, documented 14 cases of armed attacks against vessels or marine platforms during the first four months of 2020, with just three of those reported to international maritime agencies.

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Source: argusmedia.com

Offshore Supply Vessel Attacked off the Coast of Mexico

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.

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Source: maritime-executive.com

Navy reports zero oil rig thefts by pirates since May 15

More than 500 vessels have been inspected in Gulf of Mexico since operation began

The Mexican navy reports that it has reduced pirate attacks on vessels in the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico to zero after a new operation was put in place on May 15.

In recent years the waters off the coasts of Campeche, Tabasco and Veracruz have been plagued by armed bandits who attack oil platforms, and commercial and supply vessels.

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Source: mexiconewsdaily.com

Piracy Surges in Gulf of Mexico, Prompting U.S. Warning

There have been scores of attacks in Mexican waters, taxing the country’s overstretched security forces.

By

MEXICO CITY — The pirates appeared out of the darkness, leaping aboard the Italian-flagged supply ship off the coast of Mexico. Weapons drawn, the eight attackers worked swiftly, taking crew members hostage while they ransacked the vessel and snatched personal belongings and equipment.

Shots were fired, according to the United States Office of Naval Intelligence, and a security video showed a pirate gesticulating wildly with a pistol before the robbers sped away with their loot.

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Source: nytimes.com

Cocaine Seizures Expose Flaws at Guatemala, Honduras Ports

Written by Alex Papadovassilakis

The discovery of large amounts of cocaine in cargo shipped from Honduran and Guatemalan ports has revealed the difficulties in securing maritime shipping operations on the northern stretch of Central America’s Caribbean coast.

Customs officials at the port of Le Havre in northern France found 1.4 tons of cocaine hidden inside a shipping container transporting coffee, according to a statement released by French authorities on May 19.

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Source: insightcrime.org

Product Tanker Boarded and Robbed off Port-au-Prince

The product tanker Tosna Star was boarded and robbed by armed pirates off the port of Port-au-Prince, Haiti last Sunday, according to one of her crewmembers.

In an account posted on Facebook, crewmember Claudio Omar Benitez said that the Argentine crew of the Tosna Star has been stuck on board for months due to the novel coronavirus, unable to return to their homes. Their ship is currently at the anchorage off Port-au-Prince, and on Sunday, a group of armed Haitians boarded the tanker by the stern.

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Source: maritime-executive.com

Stable Seas report: What we know about piracy

SafeSeas is pleased to announce the first report resulting from collaboration with Stable Seas: What we know about Piracy

Authored by Lydelle Joubert, the report draws on desk-based research conducted between June 2019 and March 2020. It provides a systematic overview of data, answering the questions:

  • How is data on piracy and armed robbery collected?
  • By whom?
  • What kinds of information are available?
  • How accessible is the data?
  • What are the blind spots?

To download the report, please click here.

MarsecNews: This is a good overall read and covers the topic very well. Full marks to Lydelle and the team.