MSTA Flags Gulf of Mexico Maritime Threat

MSTA Flags Gulf of Mexico Maritime Threat
'Official reporting from within the region is believed to be consistently under representative of the true number of incidents'.

Local reporting indicates that the Gulf of Mexico is continuing to see a sustained threat from maritime crime and piracy.

That’s what Dryad Global’s latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory (MSTA) noted, adding that local media reports indicate that six thefts have occurred from platforms in the Bay of Campeche within 2023.

“Official reporting from within the region is believed to be consistently under representative of the true number of incidents,” the MSTA said.

“Incidents continue to be centered upon the theft of equipment and personal effects rather than the hijack or kidnap of vessels. Despite this, incidents are often reported to be violent and perpetrators are known to be well armed,” the MSTA added.

Dryad’s latest MSTA ranks Mexico’s risk rating as “substantial” and the country’s Dos Bocas port terminal risk rating as “moderate”. Countries with the highest risk rating in this MSTA include Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen, which all have “critical” ratings.

At the time of writing, a U.S. State Department map warns travelers to exercise increased caution at every Mexican state bordering the Gulf of Mexico, except Taumalipas, which has a do not travel warning, and Yucatan and Campeche, which have an “exercise normal precaution” advisory.

Black Sea

Looking at the Black Sea, the MSTA noted that the UN sponsored Grain Deal has been renewed for a further 60 days, “conditional upon sanctions reprieve against Russia”.

“Sanctions reductions are highly unlikely,” the MSTA warned.

“Vessels operating within the Black Sea should continue to do so mindful of heightened risk of drifting sea mines resulting from recent periods of severe weather,” the MSTA added.

In a statement posted on the UN website on March 14, Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, said, “within the context of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the agreement foresees a renewal of 120 days but, in the present circumstances, the Secretary-General and his team are focused, in close contact with all the parties, on doing everything possible to ensure continuity of the Initiative”.

“The agreement regarding the Black Sea Grain Initiative, alongside the MOU on the export of Russian food and fertilizer, are both critical for global food security, especially in developing countries,” Dujarric added in the statement.

In an update posted on the UN site on March 18, the organization noted that the Black Sea Grain Initiative had been extended.

“The Initiative allows for the facilitation of the safe navigation for the exports of grain and related foodstuffs and fertilizers, including ammonia, from designated Ukrainian seaports,” the update said.

“During the first two terms, some 25 million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs have been moved to 45 countrieshelping to bring down global food prices and stabilizing the markets. We express our gratitude to the Government of Türkiye for the diplomatic and operational support to the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” it added.

Southern Red Sea

In its latest MSTA, Dryad also said reports indicate that a vessel was fired upon whilst in transit northbound in the southern Red Sea.

“The incident occurred within 3nm of a further incident on the 19th May 22, in which a sailing vessel was boarded by suspected Houthi militants seeking to steal personal belongings,” the MSTA stated.

“In both instances, both vessels were operating East of the Hanish Islands which is an area of extended war risk resulting from the presence of Houthi militants nearby,” the MSTA added.

“Vessels continue to be advised that all southern Red Sea transits should be conducted West of Hanish Islands as partial mitigation to this localized risk,” it continued.

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