Armed Pirates Rob Offshore Construction Vessel Off Tabasco, Mexico

Crest Tarasco (file image courtesy Navigatis Radiance)

Published May 26, 2022 10:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

Armed pirates boarded an offshore vessel near an oil field off Tabasco, Mexico last weekend, making off with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. 

The offshore construction support vessel Crest Tarasco was operating near the Hokchi field off Dos Bocas, Tabasco. At about 2300 hours on Sunday, a boat with an outboard motor approached, and a group of about five men carrying long guns came aboard. They fired shots into the air, the crew told local media, in order to intimidate the seafarers and obtain compliance. 

The crew fled belowdecks in order to avoid harm or the risk of kidnapping, and the pirates spent about 45 minutes looting the vessel. Afterwards, they departed without intervention from the authorities. The crew claimed that they notified the Mexican Navy, but did not receive a rapid response. 

The pirates reportedly made off with 35 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) units, as well as tools and communications equipment. The SCBAs had a combined value of about $75,000. 

Piracy is a significant problem off Tabasco and Campeche, the epicenter of Mexico's offshore oil industry. The region's platforms and OSVs make tempting targets for well-armed criminal organizations, and the number of reported attacks is widely believed to underrepresent the scope of the problem. 

Crest Tarasco is a 280-foot construction support vessel flagged in Mexico. She is fitted with a 100 tonne boom crane, a spread mooring system and DP2 positioning. 

Based on AIS data provided by Pole Star, the Tarasco has not returned to port since the casualty. As of Thursday, she continued her normal stationkeeping pattern off the coast.