The Gulf of Mexico Has a Pirate Problem

The Gulf of Mexico Has a Pirate Problem
'There has been an increase in the cadence of incidents in the Gulf of Mexico'.

Dryad Global’s latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory (MSTA) has outlined that the Gulf of Mexico is in the midst of a pirate problem.

According to the MSTA, on August 7, pirates onboard two speedboats boarded and robbed a manned semi-submersible drilling rig in the Bay of Campeche approximately 28nm north of Paraiso. The MSTA also notes that, on August 10, a vessel was approached by suspected pirates when transiting inbound to Puerto Dos Bocas.

“There has been an increase in the cadence of incidents in the Gulf of Mexico,” the MSTA states.

“Since 22 May 2022, there have been six maritime events just within the Bay of Campeche. Three supply vessels have been attacked, and three oil platforms,” the MSTA adds.

“Despite previously focusing on unmanned assets, there has been a noticeable evolution where pirates are boarding vessels or oil platforms when personnel are present,” the MSTA continues.

A previous version of the MSTA, which was published last month, outlined that, in the Gulf of Mexico, reporting indicated that on July 16, pirates attacked five Pemex satellite platforms in the Cantarell Productive Field in the Bay of Campeche.

“The Bay of Campeche remains the epicenter of maritime crime and piracy within the Gulf of Mexico,” the MSTA noted at the time.

“Currently there is believed to be a significant degree of under-reporting of incidents within the Gulf of Mexico,” the MSTA added.

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 warn travelers to exercise normal precautions.

Iran, Sierra Leone

Dryad Global’s latest MSTA also highlighted pirate activity in Iran and Sierra Leone.

“Iranian state media claimed that Iranian naval vessels thwarted a pirate attack in the Red Sea on 10 August,” the MSTA stated.

“This comes after reports last week that the Iranian navy thwarted a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. Beyond Iranian vessels, no such attacks have taken place against any commercial vessels within the area across a protracted timeframe,” the MSTA added.

“It is assessed that Iran likely seeks to justify its military build up in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden under the auspices of piracy,” the MSTA continued.

Looking at Sierra Leone, the MSTA pointed out that, during protests on August 11, reporting indicated a vessel was boarded by a suspected pirate in the Freetown Anchorage Area.

“The pirate escaped upon sighting, and the vessel and crew were reported safe,” the MSTA stated.

“This is the first reported incident off Sierra Leone since 2020 and does not represent a change in the risk environment,” the MSTA added.

To contact the author, email

What do you think? We’d love to hear from you, join the conversation on the Rigzone Energy Network.

The Rigzone Energy Network is a new social experience created for you and all energy professionals to Speak Up about our industry, share knowledge, connect with peers and industry insiders and engage in a professional community that will empower your career in energy.