There was an explosion near downtown Belize City on Friday night. It
wasn’t a grenade but the blast which occurred on North Front Street reverberated
through the entire downtown area – rattling the city. Jacqueline Godwin
Jacqueline Godwin Reporting,
This is all that remains of the Ardent, a fishing vessel that was anchored in
the Belize City harbour for the past two days. The boat valued at sixty thousand
Belize dollars was completely destroyed after it exploded. While it is truly
amazing that nearby vessels were not damaged residents who live in the surrounding
area especially along the river front and southern foreshore were suddenly awakened
around ten thirty on Friday night by the vibrations caused by the shock waves
that followed the explosion.
“When you heard the loud noise, did the building shake?”
Michael Cain, Watchman in the area
“Everything shake. These people’s pictures off the wall, everything
“And that’s at the Image Factory?”
“Yes. And in the alley a lot of houses shake, all across way up to
“Were you scared?”
“I was. I didn’t know what it was.”
As most of the boat was blown up to bits wooden pieces from the vessel littered the concrete dock and adjacent yards. Police say luckily no one was injured
and investigations suggest there was no one on the boat at the time.
But what caused the ardent to explode? The boat owner Jaime Sosa Sr. was home
in Sartenja Village in the Corozal District when he was informed about the incident.
Today 7News caught up with the long time fisherman at the scene where he had
returned to collect whatever was left from his boat. Like this container that
was used to store fish and ice.
Jaime Sosa Sr., Boat Owner
“They called me like ten thirty, around ten thirty. They told me that
my boat had already exploded. Me and my two sons went driving down to Belize
City to see what had happened. When we reached there, we only found pieces of
our boat, right like how it is right now. There were police standing there and
the thing I did not I like, they did not let me pick up my things that were
floating. I had already lost my boat.”
Fire fighters have investigated the incident and determined that there was
a leak in the line attached to the regulator valve. It ruptured and caused the
explosion but they have been unable to ascertain the initial source of the ignition.
Police did detain a man nicknamed Baygon who was the caretaker of the ardent, a person who the owner suspects may be responsible but he is not sure and there
is no evidence to support it.
The boat owner said he usually pays the caretaker fifty dollars to watch his
boat for two nights but when he did not show up for the day before the explosion
he did not allow him on the fishing vessel.
Jaime Sosa Sr.,
“There had to be a flame so that the gas, butane gas exploded. The
man that was on the boat went and opened the valve of the butane tank. I left
my watchman Wednesday night, eleven ‘o clock Wednesday. On Thursday morning
I did not see my watchman he wasn’t there so I did not order him to go
inside my boat obviously he destroyed my boat. The watchman, I know him only
The caretaker has since been released by police and the boat owner despite
his substantial loss will not legally pursue the matter.
Jaime Sosa Sr.,
“I do not have another boat, it was my only boat. I will suffer now,
I cannot do nothing, I cannot go and charge the man who destroyed my boat because
he is poor like me. Maybe it was an accident, I do not think it was intentional.”
A man was seen in the water shortly after the explosion. He managed to swim
safely to shore and seen quickly leaving the area but the identity of that man
remains unknown and whether he is connected to the incident.
“They say a man was in the water. When I looked I saw the man coming
out of the water.”
“How did he look to you?”
“Well I didn’t look at him very carefully but what I did notice
was that he was all wet up. So I didn’t pay that no attention.”
Jaime Sosa Sr. says the ardent was fairly new he had purchased it only two
years and six months. The boat and its contents were not insured. Reporting
for 7News Jacqueline Godwin.
The Police Department has received an interim report from the Fire
Department on their investigation into what may have caused the vessel to explode.
The explosion, according to the report is believed to have been as a result
of a leak from a fuel tank within the vessel which was ultimately ignited
by an unknown source. Police investigation is ongoing.