Luxury Yacht Lodged on Barrier Reef
An 85 foot luxury yacht – “The Great Escape” is tonight lodged on Belize’s barrier reef near Hunting Caye. It has been there since November 30th of last year when it’s captain and owner – American national Albert Barscroft ran aground on a portion of the reef in the Sapodilla and Hunting Caye Range while exiting Belizean territorial waters.
What’s news tonight is that the yacht is falling apart and it needs to be removed to avoid an environmental catastrophe. The yacht is loaded with fuel and after being lodged on the reef for 6 weeks – the Department of Environment fears that it is beginning to break. The vessel hasn’t been removed because according to the DOE, the yacht’s owner allegedly paid Jorge Alfredo Aldana US$10,000 to remove but he didn’t. Aldana allegedly wanted another US$60,000 to remove it.
So now it is in the hands of the Department of Environment which we are told is trying to gather the necessary funds – reportedly between $30,000 and $50,000 to pay to have it ship pulled off the reef. The owner will then reimburse the DOE.
The yacht’s owner Albert Barscroft is not in the country because after he was detained by the Coast Guard after the yacht ran aground, he had a heart attack and was rushed to Guatemala for treatment. He has yet to return.
Because the vessel is still lodged on the reef, the Department of Environment has been unable to assess the damage to the reef. The Port Authority is however still investigating the cause of the accident. We are told that the evidence so far suggests that the accident was a result of negligence.http://www.7newsbelize.com/sstory.php?nid=16015