19 | ABR | 2019
Fuel thieves raid Pemex platforms on high seas
During the previous administration, naval personnel was able to secure four supply vessels engaged in fuel trafficking in the states of Campeche, Tabasco, and Veracruz - Photo: Francisco Martín/EFE

Fuel thieves raid Pemex platforms on high seas

01/02/2019
13:41
Manuel Espino
Mexico City
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From 2017 to date, Pemex has reported around 300 cases of fuel theft in oil platforms and tankers

For several years, the facilities of the state-owned company Mexican Petroleums (Pemex) in the Mexican Gulf have been stalked by criminal groups involved in fuel theft and traffick, as well as raider gangs.

From 2017 to date, the company has reported around 300 cases of fuel theft in oil tankers and substraction of material and equipment from Pemex oil platforms, according to a report from the Ministry of the Navy.

Naval authorities have indicated that fuel thieves on high seas are involved in at least 20% of all cases. The criminal groups usually intercept oil tankers in Mexican waters, subject the crew, and substract the fuel with hoses connected with their vessels.

These fuel thieves are also known to use fuel transfer pump units between vessels on high seas, which is strictly forbidden by Mexican law since said proces should only be carried out on the quay, stated the Navy Minister José Rafael Ojeda after mentioning the Imiloa and Winchester ships that were seized at the Dos Bocas port in Tabasco earlier this week, carrying a total of 175,975 gallons of fuel.

During the previous administration, naval personnel was able to secure four supply vessels engaged in fuel trafficking in the states of Campeche, Tabasco, and Veracruz. The ships were: Havnor, carrying 198,176 gallons of diesel; Captain Kenny, with 86,963 gallons of diesel; Isla del Carmen, with 64,225 gallons, and Perla, with 1,249 gallons.

The crewmembers of said ships were Honduran and Colombian. They often failed to report the amount of fuel that was being carried in the ships’ logbooks.

Naval authorities have also identified criminal groups that operate by climbing onto the platforms, subjecting Pemex staff, and substracting the material. According to the official document, the oil platforms in the Campeche Sound that have showed an increased criminal activity are Bolontiku, Kab, Kix, May, Sinan, and Tsimin, which are part of the Mexican Gulf’s southeast marine reagion, which covers 6,835 square miles of deep waters where there are large deposits of hydrocarbons. The northeast marine areas were less vulnerable to criminal activity.

In view of this situation, the Navy reinforced its vigilance in the Mexican Gulf with Panther helicopters, patrol boats, and interceptors.

Surveillance, search, and rescue stations will also contribute to the monitoring of open seas with fast vessels for the protection of Pemex employees and civilians.

Last Monday, members of the Navy and the public prosecutor’s office (FGR) seized 186,974 gallons of illegal fuel that was being carried in two ships near Dos Bocas, one of the most important ports in the southeast.

As part of the patrol activities, 64,225 gallons of diesel were also seized from the Isla del Carmen supply vessel, which was headed to Honduras.

In July 2012, nine crew members of the Captain Kenny ship were arrested at the Dos Bocas port. The ship was carrying around 86,963 gallons of diesel.

When subjected to a routine inspection 106 miles southeast of the Dos Bocas port, the Hondurian crew was unable to substantiate their cargo with documents or ship logs.
 

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Pirate ships and fuel thieves

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