The Mexican-flagged offshore supply vessel MV NATALIE was reportedly boarded by armed men whilst conducting operations in the vicinity of the ODIN Offshore platform, about 12 nm northeast of Coatzacoalcos, in the Gulf of Mexico, on 24 July.
Reports by security consultants Dryad Global indicate the attack took place in the early morning within hours of darkness and the crew were subjected to violent robbery of personal belongings. However, there are no reports of personnel injury, kidnapping or theft of cargo.
The incident comes at a time of increased vigilance regarding maritime security in the region. Within 2020, there has been a significant increase in maritime crime and piracy in the waters offshore Campeche, Tabasco and Veracruz states.
The US Maritime Administration has recently issued an advisory, 2020-008-Southern Gulf of Mexico-Vessel Attacks, detailing such events, and actions to be taken in case of piracy and armed robbery incidents in the region. Recently, RMI and the Panama Maritime Administration also advised caution for ships transiting the Gulf.
According to Dryad Global, 20 fishing vessels and 35 oil platforms and offshore supply vessels have been targeted since January 2018 in the Bay of Campeche area of the southern Gulf of Mexico.
Despite the increase in reporting, there is assessed to be a significant degree of under reporting concerning incidents not involving attacks against large commercial vessels. Attacks recorded to date have involved the discharge of firearms, crew injuries, hostage taking, and theft. At least five of these attacks occurred in April 2020.