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#338206 - 05/21/09 12:19 AM Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,963
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
There are confirmed reports that a vessel ran aground on the reef on Tuesday. It is a Catamaran, which was sailing off the coast of Ambergris Caye. Earlier today, the vessel was removed from the corals and a team comprising of officials of various government departments was dispatched to the scene to assess the damage. The vessel is expected to be detained by the Belize Port Authority but up to news time, the assessment team had not returned from San Pedro. Since late last year, several vessels have been damaging the reef and the catamaran is just the latest craft added to that disturbing list which includes the CaribeMariner, the Westerhaven, and most recently, the Azteca. The Azteca is a yacht belonging to Mexican Billionaire, Ricardo Salinas Pliego. Pliego was on holiday near San Pedro when his luxury yacht ran onto the reef. While he was detained, the Azteca’s captain, Villeras Eckart, claimed he dropped the anchor in order to avoid running aground. The damaged area of the coral reef measured twenty-five by forty-five meters. Salinas Pliego was fined close to eight hundred thousand U.S. dollars based on the size of the damaged area and he reportedly accepted liability. He was allowed to sail away before making payment. That incident occurred back on April seventh and News Five has learnt that Pliego is now only wiling to pay half of the money.

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#338239 - 05/21/09 08:18 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 770
Belize-N-Us Offline
Belize-N-Us  Offline
Boy there sure are a lot of really smart and well seasoned yacht captains who just can't seem to figure out where the largest reef in the northern hemisphere is located.

I'm no mega yacht captain so I have no place to criticize these very unfortunate chaps who I'm certain have made no errors in judgement and certainly should not be considered at fault nor be held accountable for damaging this precious resource.

I am however a private pilot who has been a weekend only flier traveling as far as the Pacific coast and the Atlantic coast and many places in between. I also have 3 international trips logged as pilot in command and I can honestly say that I used these paper things called charts to avoid obsticles like mountains, towers and restricted areas. I also utilized this incredible device called a GPS. Perhapse some of you non-pilots and non-captains out there have heard of these things ( they are really cool ).

Anyway, I'll just be glad when these well seasoned, smart and not at fault yacht captains (who I'm sure have MANY more hours than I), would learn to to read and use things like charts and GPS units. But maybe I'm just expecting too much of others??????

Last edited by Belize-N-Us; 05/21/09 08:36 AM.

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#338247 - 05/21/09 08:45 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: Belize-N-Us]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,094
Danny2 Offline
Danny2  Offline

It's been in the news lately that the GPS system will degraded by 2010 because of neglect.

#338255 - 05/21/09 09:31 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: Danny2]  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,464
SimonB Offline
SimonB  Offline
Charts for Belize (GPS and otherwise) suck anyway. There was grant to re-chart the waters but what ever happened to the project I don't know.

#338259 - 05/21/09 09:53 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: SimonB]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
TravelinMan1 Offline
TravelinMan1  Offline
As a side note I did not hear anyone speak about the fact that Amigos Del mar ran aground at Turneffe Atoll a couple of weeks ago. I wonder if a team was sent out to asses that damage and if any fines will be paid?

I can almost understand that someone unfamiliar with the waters around here can do so considering the lack of charts etc. but a local captain? To me that is even more disturbing.

In a country where you would want to see boaters etc. you would think that the Government might want to make an effort to make Belize a little more boater friendly. Not only could they collect from them but they also spend money.

On don't like one way streets and based on the information it seems like anytime a tourist runs aground we want to write an invoice and not look into the real problem which is why is it happening.

just my two cents.

#338262 - 05/21/09 09:58 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: TravelinMan1]  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 6,705
Amanda Syme Offline
Amanda Syme  Offline
I was told that Amigos ran aground on a sandbar during the extremely lows tides, not on coral.

I also understand the the catamaran that hit the reef on tuesday was tossed around during the big squall that we experienced that night which was quite intense. We clocked at least 40 mph winds that were swirling from all directions.

Some things have to be chalked up to acts of god or simply accidents.

#338267 - 05/21/09 10:03 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: Amanda Syme]  
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,204
collyk Offline
collyk  Offline
Thank goodness for AmandaCam. When that weird little storm hit, the first thing we did was log into your weather station Amanda and we were amazed by the strength of some of the gusts - especially when we saw buckets and parts of our trees blowing around our garden. Big kudos to you and Cal for providing that service.
Belize Wedding Photography

#338335 - 05/21/09 12:12 PM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pedro [Re: collyk]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
TravelinMan1 Offline
TravelinMan1  Offline
Thanks for the clarification Amanda. I do agree though and as much as we need to protect the reef we also need to understand that S&*# happens.

It was a nice breeze and my stations showed 35 knots.

#338478 - 05/22/09 09:30 AM Re: Catamaran runs aground on the reef near San Pe [Re: TravelinMan1]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,963
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
2 U.S. Catamarans detained for damage to coral reef

We reported on Wednesday that another vessel had damaged the reef. News Five has now confirmed that in fact, two foreign vessels sailing around San Pedro Ambergris Caye were moored for several days near delicate patches of the reef. This prompted the Chairman of the San Pedro Tour Guide Association, Billy Leslie, to investigate. He found damaged corals that were caused by the catamarans, Dreamer and Imagine. Leslie, who is also a passionate environmentalist, on Wednesday assisted several Government departments, including the Belize Port Authority, out to the site.

Billy Leslie, Chairman, San Pedro Tour Guide Ass.
“Apparently, the vessel has been touring around Belize. I am not 100% sure, but I don’t think it has the proper papers to be conducting tours around our waters and I received a call from the dive shop at Costa Maya, which is right in front of Mexico Rocks, which is one of our most used site, which is not a marine reserve. But there is a vessel that’s been parked there for days and apparently they have broken one of our newly installed moorings. So we took a contingency out there with members from the marine reserve, which are Fisheries officers and two policemen from the Belize Tourism Police Unit. And upon searching the area, we met two vessels tied together, who had been tied to a mooring which was designed for small boats. Inspecting the area, we found that the vessel had damaged various portions of our very delicate Mexico Rocks area, a very light site. In speaking to the captain, he said that he had had damage in Honduras, but when searching the area we found the remnants of his keel to prove that, yes, it was his boat that damaged the area.”

Russell Lainfiesta, Port State Officer, Belize Port Authority
“There are two vessels that were moored together—that were rafted together and moored on a buoy north of San Pedro. The name of these vessels are Dreamer and Imagine. Both vessels are documented and registered with the United States Coastguard.”

Delahnie Bain
What are the sizes—what size vessels are we looking at?”

Russel Lainfiesta
“Dreamer in length is 46 ft., in width 24.5 ft. and carries a draft of 3.5 ft. The vessel Imagine is the same size length and breadth.”

Delahnie Bain
“What is the extent of the damage at the reef?”

Russel Lainfiesta
“The extent of the damage has not been determined as yet. The Department of the Environment will do their assessment. They already went to the location, measured the area in which damages occurred and the estimated area was 27 square metres, un-continuously, meaning that it’s not the reef all along the 27 square metres; patches there, patches here and patches 39 knots—between 39 and 45 knots—and due to that storm, from interviews with both masters of the vessels, the moor from the buoy let go, which caused the vessels to drift and come upon the coral patches. Both vessels have been detained today officially by the Belize Port Authority pending further inquiry into the situation.”

The catamarans will remain in the custody of the Port Authority until the actual cause of the incident is determined. The captains of the Dreamer and Imagine are United States citizens, but they have not been charged since the investigation is not yet completed.

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