Bad things can happen anywhere and at anytime. Even if there has never been a similar incident before in that particular area, it doesn’t mean there can’t be a first time.
This definitely describes the explosion on board a ferry docked in Playa del Carmen on February 21st of this year. Nothing like that had ever happened before (or since) in the history of the area.
Since the explosion involved a passenger ferry in one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, the incident immediately made international news. People started to question the safety of the ferries and tourism in the area felt the negative impact almost immediately.
Speaking from experience, when it comes to safety, it’s unwise to make a rash judgement based on an isolated incident. As I said in the first line of this post, bad things can happen anywhere at anytime.
Following a major incident like this one, I am most interested in the response of the authorities. What have they done to resolve the situation and what steps have they taken to ensure it won’t happen again? That is a more accurate way to assess whether or not you’ll be safe in that location in the future.
From the very beginning, I have been extremely impressed by Mexico’s response to the ferry explosion. They were quick to form a multi-agency task force to investigate the incident, which included participation from the FBI, and to enhance security at all of the ferry ports.
A Firsthand Look
Linda and I have taken the ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel and back again many times but this was our first time back since the explosion.
We weren’t nervous because I was fairly confident that the port would be one of the safest places in the entire state to visit — and I was right.
When we arrived at the port in Playa del Carmen, we saw a substantial security force made up of local, state and federal uniformed police officers (some with handheld metal detectors), as well as military personnel with bomb sniffing dogs.
A casual onlooker unfamiliar with the area might think that the president of Mexico was about to arrive at any moment.
When we arrived on the Cozumel side, we found a similar scene to the one before except this time passengers arriving to take the ferry to Playa del Carmen were going through a metal detector. According to a report from the newspaper 24 horas, additional metal detectors will soon be installed at both ports.
There was no doubt about it, we definitely felt safe.
Let’s Wrap This Up
If you’ve been worried to take the ferries since the incident, don’t be. Security is high and thousands of passengers continue to take the ferries everyday without any problem. Even the U.S. Department of State cancelled it’s travel advisory last week.
In case you’re wondering about the ferries running between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, according to a report by El Universal, security has been increased there as well.