Explosive Devices Found on Cozumel Ferries
The U.S. embassy in Mexico City is warning travelers to exercise caution after two incidents on tourist ferries in Quintana Roo involving explosives. Both ferries operate out of Cozumel, a popular destination for cruise ships carrying American passengers. The embassy said that American government staff are barred from using the ferries on this route.
On February 21, an explosive device detonated on a tourist ferry that runs between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. The blast occurred as passengers were disembarking, and 26 people were injured, including several American and Canadian nationals.
The governor of the state of Quintana Roo initially said that the explosion was likely caused by a "technical failure." Security video footage appears to show that the blast originated amidships on a passenger deck (top). A gang aligned with the Zetas drug cartel claimed responsibility for the explosion on February 27, and in a statement Thursday, the U.S. embassy said that it was caused by an explosive device.
Ferry operator Barcos Caribe had its operations suspended by the government after the incident, and the manager of the passenger terminal at Playa del Carmen said that traffic volumes have dropped off by a third.
On Thursday, the U.S. embassy said that Mexican law enforcement found explosive devices on another ferry on the Cozumel-Playa del Carmen route. The second ferry - operated by the same firm - was at anchor and not in operation, and it had at least one device attached to the underside of its hull. Mexican Navy personnel found and inactivated the suspected bomb(s), according to local media.
"We urge all travelers to review our information on http://travel.state.gov before they travel," said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert in a statement. "Our priority is the safety and security of U.S. citizens abroad, and we will continue to provide safety and security updates as they become available."