Oil rig workers use jets of water to repel latest pirate attack

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Oil workers aboard a ship and an oil platform used firefighting equipment to repel modern-day pirates in the Gulf of Mexico last Thursday.

A group of 15 workers aboard the ship Atares and the West Titania platform connected hoses to fire hydrants and directed high-powered jets of water at the pirates, according to a Milenio newspaper report.

They were successful in scaring off the pirates and avoiding yet another heist in the waters off Campeche’s coast. Pirate attacks on oil platforms and vessels in the Gulf of Mexico are relatively common, with thieves often getting away with equipment, tools and other valuable items.

The attempted attack occurred during the early hours on Thursday. Two boats with between three and four crew members each approached the Atares and the platform. “It was three in the morning when we noticed the presence of the vessels; everything happened very quickly,” one of the oil workers told Milenio. 

“We managed to repel the [attempted] boarding,” he said before comparing foiling the attack to Spanish galleons’ repulsion of filibusters who wanted to steal their riches over 300 years ago.

“On this occasion, it wasn’t artillery [that warded off the attackers] but jets of water from the firefighting equipment, which has great pressure,” the unnamed oil worker said.

Milenio said that sources close to Pemex confirmed last Thursday’s events, but the state oil company hasn’t officially acknowledged the attempted raid. Oil platforms and vessels owned by Pemex and private companies have been attacked 22 times this year off the coast of Campeche, the newspaper said.

Senator Rocío Abreu Artiñano, president of the upper house’s energy committee, said that it appears that the same group of pirates have perpetrated all 22 attacks because the modus operandi was the same in each.

“The pirates arrive at night and board the [oil sector] facilities,” she told Milenio, adding that the attacks threatened the safety of workers and the safe operations of platforms and vessels.

“… We run the risk of a death occurring at any moment, and we’re not going to allow that,” Abreu said.

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