A ferry explosion occurred shortly after 1 p.m. local time in Playa del Carmen. Photo: Twitter@pedrokanche

Playa del Carmen, Q. Roo. — The ferry explosion that injured around two dozen tourists was caused by“an explosive device,” the U.S. embassy in Mexico said on Thursday.

An alert posted on the embassy’s website warned U.S. travelers to exercise caution.

Mexican authorities continue to investigate the blast, which initially was blamed on mechanical problems on Feb. 21.

Three days before the blast, two homemade explosive devices were found attached to another ferry on Isla Cozumel, local media reported Thursday. Photos of a pipe bomb tied to the bottom of the boat, near of the propeller, have circulated on social networks.

Navy and state authorities have not confirmed the other bombs.

Local media report that up to 25 people had been hurt, but none of the injuries were life-threatening. A drug gang is taking credit for the explosion.

The ferry is operated by Barcos Caribe, which is owned by the father of former Quintana Roo state Governor Roberto Borge, who is facing corruption charges, local media reported.

Borge, from Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), was extradited in January from Panama to face charges of embezzlement and abuse of public office, which he denies.

Public assured

The Secretary of Tourism of the state (Sedetur) assured the public that Cozumel does not represent any special risk situation for visitors arriving by sea or air.

Through a statement, the agency said that “although some incidents have been reported, all are related to the same company. … the incidents are exclusively related to internal situations and inherent to the affected shipping line, which no longer provides commercial service.”

Sedetur says that security measures are constantly updated.

“Users of maritime and air terminals will be able to find the highest security standards and the application of international protocols within them,” the statement said.

Princess Cruises cancels

The international cruise line Princess Cruises informed its customers that it has canceled all its tenders in Playa del Carmen, and asked them to avoid all ferries from Cozumel.

In a message dated March 2, the shipping company makes reference to the embassy alert, ​​and says that all tenders will be canceled on ferries.

Also, Princess strongly advises clients to avoid the Cozumel ferries.

Source: Agencies