From the Ambergris Today
Hundreds of people flocked by skiff, sailboat and even canoes from as far as Sarteneja to the waters just behind Caye Caulker early morning Tuesday, December 2 after a Bowen and Bowen barge nearly capsized between Caye Caulker and San Pedro. The precious cargo of Belikin Beer, Crystal Water, Coca Cola, and Belize Aquaculture Shrimp was up for grab to anyone who could make it to the site.
An early Christmas indeed, as people went diving, with scuba gear and all, for the cargo items that got dumped into the sea. Bruce Bowen told 7NEWS in Belize City that the barge, which left Belize City at 9p.m. on Monday, December 1, loaded with nine trailers worth of product headed into an unusually strong northwest breeze. The rough seas were too much for the barge to handle.
The rough seas splashed over the bow and filled two inspection hatches at the front of the boat, causing it to keel precariously. The lopsided barge caused the weight of the cargo to push against the railing and send as much as 400 and 500 crates of product tumbling into the sea. Also included in the lost cargo were 13 industrial sized iceboxes with shrimp valued about $1,000 per icebox.
Residents of Caye Caulker were first at the scene but as the news of the incident spread like wildfire, it did not take much time for other boatmen to rush to the site and collect some free Bowen products. It was a mad scene as our reporter caught images of people completely loading their water vessel with cases of beer, while others took to the shrimp.
But all was not lost from the barge. Although the barge keeled to one side, it did not capsize and crewmen managed to pump out the water logged hatches and level the barge. Bruce Bowen commented that it will be a few days before he could tally all the losses. He stressed that as the agent, the losses are his, not Bowen and Bowen’s – the bottling giant owned by his brother, Barry.