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The Department of the Environment is taking a multi-agency approach to see how charges and fines can be leveled against an American national who is accused of causing tens of thousands of dollars in damaged when his boat rammed into the reef.

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It is being reported that around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 14th boat captain Collin Arthur Warren, accompanied by four other men, allegedly ran his vessel onto the reef near Frank’s Caye in the Sapodilla Range.

The 48 foot registered vessel ”Chititu Nizina AK” became stuck on the reef and the five men were taken to the Big Creek Port by Coast Guard personnel for processing by Immigration. After it was determined that the men did not commit any immigration offense, they were released from custody and now cannot be located.

Kenrick Gordon, Environmental Officer at the Department of the Environment confirmed that after the vessel was removed from the reef a thorough assessment revealed that the total damages to the reef were estimated at 64 thousand Belize dollars.

That figure increased following costs incurred for response and removal of the vessel from the reef and according to Gordon, the total tabulated bill is now $96,000.

Gordon explained that ”damage to live coral formation is an offense under the Environmental Protection Act and so this would be under the Department’s mandate. So from here, we are working along with the relevant agencies to ensure that the party responsible for the incident can be held accountable. In this case, it is an American national and so we will be sending a formal letter to the American Embassy through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and hopefully, we can get some assistance to try and resolve the issue as soon as possible.”

The vessel was removed from the reef on March 28th and was transported to the mainland.

The Reporter