Caribbean and The Gulf of Mexico: Maritime Crime

Maritime security in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico has been a long-standing issue. Criminal activity goes undocumented or unpublicised compared to the rest of the world. With its close proximity to the US border, it has become an attractive staging area for drug pedalling, weapon trafficking and maritime crime against commercial shipping. The drivers of these criminal attacks and the COVID -19 economic impact have contributed to the expansion of maritime crime in the area.

Compared to the rest of the world, criminal activity in the Caribbean and GoM goes largely undocumented or unpublicised but often when they are; the numbers of incidents vary considerably between different publications and regional bodies. Media reporting indicates that in 2020, the region saw an upturn in maritime crimes, including armed robberies, this prompted the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) to issue a security alert for the area in April 2020 when six attacks were reported during that month alone. The target of many of these attacks are the 2,000+ offshore oil drilling platforms located in the GoM which supplies around 17 per cent of the US’s crude oil, and 5 per cent of its natural gas. It is not only the platforms that are at risk, supply vessels have also been boarded leading to concerns within the commercial shipping industry regarding crew safety, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic appears to have impacted the numbers of security personnel available to operate in the region.

Police patrolling has also been a huge challenge for regional navies due to limited allocated defence budgets. Some Caribbean countries have even considered positive steps to expand and upgrade their maritime fleets. Funding for aerial platforms would be a crucial step to tackle organised crimes in the Caribbean.

Download the intelligence report to read more about the maritime dangers arising from undocumented criminal activity, the threats and risks associated with maritime operations in the Caribbean and The Gulf of Mexico.

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