United States issues security alert for Playa del Carmen

Casey Dawson
March 10, 2018

A similar advisory has been issued by the United States for citizens from that country, which has banned all government employees from going to Playa del Carmen until further notice.

The alert comes as many Canadians and Americans head south for spring break and just weeks after at least 25 people were injured when an explosion ripped through a ferry in Playa del Carmen. A ferry is pictured in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo state, Mexico on February 21, 2018.

USA government employees are now not allowed to travel to the area until further notice and some cruise lines have cancelled excursions that involve ferries in the area. Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if they need assistance.

"We take our obligation to provide information to USA citizens seriously as evidenced by the clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information we release worldwide", State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement to ABC News, adding that the agency will provide "important updates when information becomes available".

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"All tourism and economic activity in Playa del Carmen continues in a normal manner", the government of Quintana Roo state said in a statement, noting that hotel occupancy at the resort was 80 per cent.

Some tourist destinations have no warnings against them, including Mexico City, Cancun, and Los Cabos. The explosives found on the second ferry were found by a diver cleaning the ship's hull, and the boat had reportedly been out of operation for 10 months. A day before that, a shooting at a music festival in Playa del Carmen left three foreigners and two Mexicans dead.

The U.S. State Department had put Mexico on a "Level 2: Exercise increased caution" alert status earlier this year because of increased crime rates, USA Today reported. Government employees are now prohibited from riding any tourist ferries in the area, and state and federal prosecutors are investigating the incidents.

Last week four gunmen burst into a hospital in Cancun and shot to death a drug gang suspect and his wife. That incident came about a week after an explosive device detonated on another ferry, injuring several passengers.

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