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Sailboat Grounded Near Sapodilla Cayes #535459
03/20/19 05:58 AM
03/20/19 05:58 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,043
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

A sailing vessel, believed to be captained by Guatemalan fishermen, ran aground on the reef near Sapodilla Caye in the waters of southern Belize.† The Belize Territorial Volunteers set out to sea earlier today to conduct a routine visit of the area and discovered that the boat had crashed into the reef less than a mile away from the Hunting Caye Forward Operating Base.† While we have not received official information from the relevant authorities, News Five spoke by phone with Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers.† He shared with us what he observed at the site of the landing.

On the phone: Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers

ďYeah, well as you know, the BTV keeps a watchful eye on the borders and the Sapodilla Cayes which is in the border area, in the maritime area.† So today our destination was the Sapodilla Cayes and, you know, when we got there we were surprised to see a huge sailboat that was crashed on the reef.† So we tried to investigate and we didnít see anyone around the sailboat, but from people that we interviewed from around the area, we are told that the owners of the boat escaped but we find that very strange and the fact that this boat is less than a mile away from Hunting Caye which is where the military base is at, you know.† We just find that strange.† I am saying this based on what people have told me, that the people occupying the boat escaped with their passports and everything.† I mean that there is no way that that could be possible, being so close to a military base, plus somebody would have had to move them to Guatemala.† Okay, so I mean, the boat is on the reef and, you know, I hope that DOE or some authority, port authority or which authority is responsible, to move it off the reef before more damage is done.Ē

How Did Crew of Grounded Vessel Skip Town?

According to Maheia, the proximity of the vessel to the F.O.B. at Hunting Caye makes it near impossible for coastguard personnel stationed on the island not to see it in the near distance.† Maheia also says that there is another vessel grounded on the reef in the same area but it appears to have been there for much longer.

On the phone: Wil Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers

ďWell there is no way in which the coast guard could have missed that, itís within striking distance of Hunting Caye.† Itís not like itís out of sight, like I said, itís less than a mile from Hunting Caye.† We did see a coast guard boat in the area.† You know, when we were leaving the area there was a coast guard boat heading to that area, I donít know if they were going there or not.† But, I mean again, this boat crashed there on Thursday and so far I have heard no reports of it and the owners, from the people we spoke to in the area, fishermen, that these guys just skipped town.† How could they have skipped town? Itís just beyond me.Ē

Channel 5

Re: Sailboat Grounded Near Sapodilla Cayes [Re: Marty] #535470
03/21/19 04:56 AM
03/21/19 04:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 72,043
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Information on Vessel Grounding in the Sapodilla Caye Area

The Belize Coast Guard (BCG) has responded to media reports on March 19, 2019, regarding a vessel grounding that occurred in the Sapodilla Caye Marine Reserve.

The BCG informs the public that they were indeed aware of the vessel grounding. The incident occurred on Thursday, 14th March, around 3:30 a.m. The Forward Operating Base at Hunting Caye received a distress call from the sailing vessel CHITITU stating that they had run aground north of Nicholas Caye. A search and rescue unit was immediately deployed and within 15 minutes was able to locate the vessel and crew. Sailing vessel CHITITU is a 48ft monohull sailing vessel registered in the United States of America.

The six passengers, all US nationals, were transported to Hunting Caye. On Friday, 15th March, five of the six passengers were transported to Placencia where they were handed over to immigration authorities. The captain of the vessel remained under detention at Hunting Caye by the Belize Coast Guard.

On Saturday, 16th March, the Department of the Environment visited the vessel aground and conducted an assessment of the damage done to the reef.

The normal procedure for the marine casualty response team involves several departments. The Belize Coast Guard is responsible for the enforcement aspect and securing the scene whilst the Department of the Environment is responsible for the damage assessment, and the Belize Port Authority is responsible for investigating the cause of the incident.

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