A barge is lodged on Belize’s reef off Ambergris Caye tonight.
The 30 by 23 foot barge is stuck on an area of the reef 8 miles north of San
Pedro Town. No one knows how it got there or who owns it but it was discovered
yesterday afternoon. It most likely floated into Belize’s territorial
waters and ran into the reef after which furious waves flipped it and it landed
on the reef. The Port Authority, Coast Guard, and Department of Environment
responded this morning. Ports Commissioner John Flowers told us via phone that
the priority is removing the vessel from the reef. He told us how they plan
to do it.
John Flowers, Ports Commissioner
“We are trying to utilize the weather we have, the weather is pretty
good, the seas are flat, and so we are trying to make haste to use this window
of opportunity to remove the barge off the reef. This barge is actually in three
sections of 10 feet by 23 feet. These sections are put together so the total
sixes is 30 by 23. If we were able to break it down into the three sections
of 10 by 23 we would be able to move it easily and that is what we intend to
do, break it back down into sections and remove it from the reef.”
“Any idea where this barge came from?”
“At this moment no, we haven’t been able to establish that.
We know it is not a barge from one of the local companies. It probably broke
loose from a tug somewhere in the open Caribbean seas and with the weather condition
and the seas it drifted into our waters. We hope that after we get the barge
under safe shelter, after it is off the reef, we will be able to find some identification
mark on it where we could probably do contact tracing.”
[Pictures Courtesy: San
Pedro Sun.] When we spoke to the Ports Commissioner late this evening,
he told us the barge is still on the reef but efforts will continue tomorrow
to remove it. He noted that it is a slow process. Once removed it is the Department
of Environment that will step in to assess the damage.