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#403188 - 03/25/11 03:42 PM Hulking Helga And Her Heavy Fuels
Marty Offline
For the past few days we've been reporting on the three Cuban seamen who were lost at sea and the eight who were saved. Well those three still have not been found, and the worst is feared.

But what about the massive 220 foot ship, the Helga? It's down at the bottom of the sea, possibly hundreds of feet below the surface. But there are concerns for the heavy fuels that it carried. The Helga had the capacity to carry about 60 tonnes of fuel plus thousands of gallons of lubricating oil. But How much was it carrying? Well, no one seems to know for sure.

Oil Consultant Neri Briceno warns that sometimes when a vessel sinks the spill is not immediate, but rather because of temperatures, pressure, the type of product itself and the maze of connective pipelines, it takes sometime a while for it to surface. But he says it will come out eventually because oil is lighter than water. Beiceno warns about an oil spill while another expert calls for a contingency plane form the department of the environment and the port authority…..

Channel 7


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#403303 - 03/26/11 04:16 PM Re: Hulking Helga And Her Heavy Fuels [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Helga’s hell will be oil spill in Belizean waters

Captain Arturo Edrei Garcia and crew members, Nelson Perez Ardao and Alexis Gonzalez Cune of the cargo ship, Helga, have been missing for a week. It doesn’t look good for the families of the missing Cubans since on Thursday night, the Belize Coast Guard called off its search for the three men. But it’s asking boaters in the area of Caye Caulker to keep an eye out for the men. The vessel was overpowered by heavy waves last Saturday night and capsized three miles east of Caye Caulker. Only eight men from the eleven member crew were rescued. But aside from what looks like fatalities, the Institute of Maritime Studies has raised its own concerns over the fuel contained in the ship. The NGO’s executive director, Major Lloyd Jones, stopped by our studios today to speak about the risks associated with the sunken vessel and the entire marine shipping industry.

Major Lloyd Jones, Executive Director, Institute of Maritime Studies

“We have been advocating for some time now for Belize to move in the direction of putting in place a sound oil spill response mechanism and part of the reason for that is that we recognize the inherent risks of shipping and I think that, as unfortunate as it was, the sinking of the vessel Helga, in our view brought into sharp focus, the need for us to move with dispatch to put in place this kind of mechanism. That vessel went down and thus far, we have not heard from any of the government agencies responsible what quantities of oil were onboard when she went down and what type of oil. Clearly she had onboard some fuel, we need to know the particulars of the fuel and how it is that the government agencies are going to respond in the event that that fuel begins to leak.”

Delahnie Bain

Lloyd Jones

“Do you think people have over looked the risks of oil spills because we don’t have offshore drilling?”

Major Lloyd Jones

“I think so. I think that a lot has been made about offshore drilling and that has its own challenges and issues. We certainly don’t want to get into that debate at this point but shipping has some risks with it. Whenever there is an accident, or whenever the ship runs aground, there’s the risk that the fuel onboard will leak into the marine environment. I think that we’ve got to prepare for that eventuality. When you consider that on a yearly basis, fifteen point four billion gallons of fuel move through our territorial waters onboard these ships, the risk certainly is significant. We do have a national emergency preparedness plan for oil spills, but that plan has not been properly resources, it has not been exercised so we think the time is right to begin to build that mechanism. It’s not going to happen overnight but we need some commitment from the government to begin to move in that direction. So hopefully this might provide some impetus for them to do that.”

Helga is a Panama flagged ship that was leased by the Cubans. It was passing through Belize with shipment of salt from Mexico that was destined for Honduras.

Channel 5


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#403518 - 03/29/11 10:57 PM Re: Hulking Helga And Her Heavy Fuels [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Patrick E. Jones:

Nine days after a cargo vessel sank in Belize’s territorial waters the Belize Port Authority today announced that it will be conducting an investigation into the incident. The Panamanian flagged vessel, the Helga, went down in the early morning hours of Sunday, March twentieth after the captain radioed in an SOS distress call to the Belize National Coast Guard. According to a statement from the Belize Port Authority, the investigation will be conducted in conjunction with the Panama Maritime Authority, with support from other technical agencies such as the Department of the Environment, Belize National Coast Guard and the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute. The investigation, according to the Port Authority will be done according to the Code of International Standards and Recommended practice for Safety Investigation into maritime Casualty or Marine Incident. It will determine the possible environmental threat to the immediate reef system that would be caused by the seepage of diesel fuel and engine oil from the sunken vessel. The Port Authority release says that although the vessel’s cargo was salt, the main challenge is that the vessel sunk in a position approximately three nautical miles east of Northern Caye Caulker in a depth of seven hundred meters of water with an unknown quantity of diesel fuel and used engine oil on board. The release points out that so far, there have been no reports of seepage from the sunken vessel. The eleven member crew of the Helga included a captain, chief engineer and helmsman, who remain missing. Eight of the crew members were rescued hours after the stricken vessel sunk, by a search team from the Belize National Coast guard.

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#403570 - 03/30/11 03:33 PM Re: Hulking Helga And Her Heavy Fuels [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
PORT AUTHORITY CONDUCTS INVESTIGATION INTO INCIDENT INVOLVING SUNKEN SHIP

Nine days after a cargo vessel sank in Belize’s territorial waters the Belize Port Authority today announced that it will be conducting an investigation into the incident. The Panamanian flagged vessel, the Helga, went down in the early morning hours of Sunday, March twentieth after the captain radioed in an SOS distress call to the Belize National Coast Guard. According to a statement from the Belize Port Authority, the investigation will be conducted in conjunction with the Panama Maritime Authority, with support from other technical agencies such as the Department of the Environment, Belize National Coast Guard and the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute. The investigation, according to the Port Authority will be done according to the Code of International Standards and Recommended practice for Safety Investigation into maritime Casualty or Marine Incident. It will determine the possible environmental threat to the immediate reef system that would be caused by the seepage of diesel fuel and engine oil from the sunken vessel. The Port Authority release says that although the vessel’s cargo was salt, the main challenge is that the vessel sunk in a position approximately three nautical miles east of Northern Caye Caulker in a depth of seven hundred meters of water with an unknown quantity of diesel fuel and used engine oil onboard. The release points out that so far, there have been no reports of seepage from the sunken vessel. The eleven member crew of the Helga included a captain, chief engineer and helmsman, who remain missing. Eight of the crew members were rescued hours after the stricken vessel sunk, by a search team from the Belize National Coast guard.

LOVEFM

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