Several organizations have issued travel advisories for Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, following an explosion that took place aboard a Barcos Caribe ferry on February 21, and after suspicious devices were found on another anchored Barcos Caribe vessel on March 1.
The United States Embassy in Mexico, as well as Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line, have issued statements about safe travel in the area, specifically urging travelers to avoid the Cozumel-Playa del Carmen ferry route altogether.
In an official security alert, The United States Embassy in Mexico stated that, in addition to the ferry explosion on February 21, undetonated explosive devices were found by Mexican law enforcement on March 1 on another Barcos Caribe ferry.
As a result of these incidents, the Embassy urged those in the area to “be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution, purchase travel insurance that specifically covers you in Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance, and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need assistance.”
The security alert also stated that U.S. Government employees are prohibited from using all tourist ferries on the Cozumel-Playa Del Carmen route until further notice.
However, Riviera Maya News reports that in response to the United States’ advisory, the Secretariat of Tourism of Quintana Roo issued a statement claiming that Cozumel does not represent any risk to visitors. The statement pointed out that the devices found on March 1 were on a boat that has been out of commercial service for more than 10 months and was stationed over 1,000 feet from any dock. The statement also claimed that the two incidents were internal and "related exclusively" to the ferry company, which was suspended by the government after the explosion.
Additionally, Quintana Roo state prosecutor Miguel Ángel Pech Cen was not ready to confirm if the devices found on March 1 were explosives, Riviera Maya News reported. When asked if they were explosive devices, Cen said, “As far as we understand they are not. We have to discard the explosive term; however, it is up to the corresponding authorities to issue the final opinion.”
The incident is still being investigated by Mexican and U.S. law enforcement, along with the explosion that occurred on February 21.
According to another Riviera Maya News report, Princess Cruises released a travel advisory warning to its passengers. In a formal letter dated March 2, Princess Cruises’ captain Fabrizzio Maresca said, “We strongly advise that Cozumel ferry use to the mainland be avoided.” In the same letter, the cruise line announced that all tours that make use of the ferries were cancelled.
In a similar move, Carnival Cruise Line cancelled passenger excursions that require travel to the Quintana Roo mainland.
Carnival senior cruise director John Heald said, “In an abundance of caution, we have canceled all tours that make use of ferries and we strongly advise that ferries from Cozumel to the mainland be avoided.”
For more coverage, visit www.riviera-maya-news.com