Mexico to strengthen monitoring on Gulf coast to battle piracy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-15 07:47:36|Editor: Wang Yamei
Video PlayerClose

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Mexico will reinforce military surveillance along its Gulf coast following recent incidents of piracy, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Thursday.

"We are beginning to deal with that ... it's a plan by the Naval Ministry that will include control of the ports, all of the ports," the president said at his daily press conference.

The measures aim to establish a naval base at the port of Dos Bocas in southeast Tabasco state, to increase military presence there.

According to local media, a ship sailing under the Italian flag was attacked by pirates in the gulf last week, leaving two sailors injured.

In addition to piracy on the high seas, crime is on the rise along the country's coasts, acknowledged Lopez Obrador.

Mexican daily Excelsior on Wednesday reported that fishing communities in 16 of 17 coastal states are victims of organized crime, with fishermen being intimidated into paying 1,000 pesos (about 52 U.S. dollars) a week to extortionists.

Lopez Obrador defended his strategy of fighting crime by attending to the country's vulnerable youth so that they are not easily recruited by criminal rings.

"It's the most effective way to deal with the problem of crime -- the most efficient and the cheapest way, if you analyze it well, and most importantly, the most humane way," the president said.

The state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) has reported an increase in recent years in theft at oil platforms, especially in the southern gulf's Campeche Sound, with thieves stealing sophisticated machinery and even personal belongings that were later sold on the black market.