Captain Shark’s is testing a machine to combat Sargassum on Ambergris Caye
The Sargassum epidemic that continues to plague the coast of Belize has prompted islanders to find a solution to contain the never-ending influx of the brown seaweed. A team at Captain Shark’s Boatyard south of San Pedro Town has built a prototype of a Sargasso skimmer to remove the seaweed from the water more easily and efficiently. The skimmer was put to the test on Saturday, August 25th, and according to its builder, it performed fairly well on its first trial.
James Ritchie of Captain Shark’s shared with The San Pedro Sun that after discussing the Sargassum issue with a friend from the United States, they built a model, which is smaller than what the actual machine should be. Ritchie explained that the machine would include a set of rubber floating booms which will guide the Sargassum to the skimmer’s tooth conveyor belt. “Then we can remove the seaweed out of the water as it is picked up by the belt, drop into bins and then they will take it away by trucks,” says Ritchie. He indicated that this is an experimental stage, but believes that with a couple of these machines on the island they can try to get most of the seaweed off the beaches.
Ritchie indicated that the machine did well, but as always, there is room for improvement. “We have to work a little bit more on it,” he said. “We did not have the booms set up to guide the seaweed to the conveyor; we were just trying the machine.” He stated that the machine runs with electricity only and that there will be doing more trials in the upcoming days.
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