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Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured #536190
05/06/19 06:03 AM
05/06/19 06:03 AM
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Police sources have confirmed that two little girls, ages nine and ten, are dead and Jaime “Jimmy” Iteriano, 32, is in a critical condition at the KHMH following an explosion on a water taxi about 3PM at the Ocean Ferry marine terminal at the Swing Bridge in Belize City.

Thr two girls, who are sisters, were along with their parents on the water taxi which was supposed to travel to San Pedro. Reports are that when the boat captain attempted to start up the boat engine, there was an explosion, killing the girls and leaving several persons, including their father and mother seriously injured.

The Interiano family had just relocated to Caye Caulker from Progresso Village, Corozal. He is an employee at the island bakery and his daughters had just recently enrolled at the primary school on the island.

Emergency Medical Technicians attempted CPR on the child at the scene but she was unresponsive.

The Swing Bridge was momentarily closed to traffic immediately following the incident.

The Reporter

Re: Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured [Re: Marty] #536205
05/07/19 05:39 AM
05/07/19 05:39 AM
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Fire Service Says The Cause Of Sunday’s Explosion Could Be Fuel Leak

Officials from the Fire Service have blamed Sunday’s boat explosion at the foot of the Swing Bridge on fuel leakage that built up prior to the ignition being turned on.

The 45-foot ferry belonged to a Mexican company, San Pedro Water Jet International, and was chartered by Ocean Ferry to take the trip to San Pedro with a quick stop in Caye Caulker.

Assistant Fire Chief, Benisford Matura told the media this afternoon that fire investigators determined that the area under the stern’s floor was where the leakage originated.

The Police were on the scene within a few minutes and managed to cordon off the area. Police Commissioner, Chester Williams was not in Belize City when the explosion happened, but he said he asked pertinent questions relating to the police investigation. He said the blast required a multi-agency intervention and investigation.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in The Reporter

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[Linked Image]

Fuel leak is at the center of the Boat Explosion Investigation

As the incident occurred, the Fire Department deployed two trucks on the scene. Though there was no fire, the fire service assisted the paramedic from BERT with a triage to attend to the victims. When the injured were taken to the hospitals, the Fire Department then deployed its resources into investigative mode. Berisford Matura, the Assistant Fire Chief told us today that the boat was owned by a Mexican company, not Ocean Ferry. Matura told us that though the investigation is still ongoing, a fuel leak is at the center of the inquiry.

Berisford Matura – Assistant Fire Chief: “Ocean Ferry had rented this boat for the day from a company named San Pedro Water Jet International a Mexican owned company. The boat was a 45 ft boat with a passenger capacity of sixty-eight. Yesterday on the said time there were thirty-four passengers on that boat. Interviewing the crew: the boat captain was Ernesto Delgado twenty nine years-old. He was assisted by two deckhands: Santiago Guzman and Jonathan Teck. They had just fueled up the boat, the boat had four two hundred horsepower engines. The captain started the engines one by one on the fourth engine that is when the explosion occurred. After dealing with the scene we started to look at the preliminary looks: the examination of the stern of the boat, that is the area in the back of the boat where the explosion occurred. We realized that at some point within the stern of the boat there was a buildup of gasoline so that showed us that there was a sign of some sort of leak either from the fuel tank or fuel line. It is unknown which of the above but it is still under investigation but we ascertained that it was a leak when fuel especially gasoline which has a flammable range of 1.5% to 7.5%. Once the mixture of gasoline vapors is within the air at that certain range, any spark can trigger it off and that is what occurred yesterday in the stern of that boat. There was a leak and it was at the right percentage and it created a sudden explosion. The boat had three fuel tanks on it and they were all filled, nothing happened to them. If those tanks would had exploded we would be in a different story here today. We are looking into a mechanism called the bilge pump. That is the pump that trips in automatically once water is in the bottom of the boat, it automatically pumps out the water from the bottom of the boat. It is electrical, it has a switch that turns on and turns off so we are looking at that and also at the fourth engine because it was when the fourth engine started the explosion happened so we are looking at both of those to see which one might have a fault where a spark would have occurred to trigger off this fuel that was in the presence of a spark.”

Ocean Ferry had rented Water Jet boat for the day of the Accident

We also had a chance to speak to Charles Young, the Director of Ocean Ferry. He was on Caye Caulker when the incident happened but immediately returned to the City on Sunday. Young says that his group of investors had just assumed control of Ocean Ferry in March, 2019 and had just rented the water jet boat for the day.

Charles Young – Director Ocean Ferry: “We just took over this company since March. The company did not have any vessels operational so right now we are currently fixing them up so what I would normally do is rent a boat. Yesterday we managed to rent the Water Jets boat which is an internationally ran boat. It goes from Caye Caulker to San Pedro, check Customs, Immigration and Port Authority, then it goes to Chetumal. That is their run that they do and on his off days when he does not run then he offered it to charter so I charted him yesterday. It is locally owned now and they were about to close down I think and we just stepped in at the right time to take it over and now this incident.”

Jose Sanchez- Reporter: “So who is the owner, I thought it was a foreigner?”

Charles Young – Director Ocean Ferry: “We do have a foreign investor with us and then we also have myself and a couple of other locals. When we rented the boat from him he provided the captain and the deck hands for the boat. All we did was pay him and then he came to work for us for the day. We are communicating with him, as it is we flew out several people that were supposed to be Caye Caulker tourist and they just wanted to go back to the states so we flew all of them out and so far it was about eight of them that we know about that was injured and of course we have the two casualties that you know about that took place.”

Jose Sanchez- Reporter: “In terms of liability of responsibility, how do you share it being that it is your company people came to but it is a Water Jets boat?”

Charles Young – Director Ocean Ferry: “Well we have our legal team dealing with that stuff and like I said I don’t really know but we are working along with all the families including the people that unfortunately this thing happened to their daughters and we couldn’t get to them because they are in intensive care or something at the hospital but we got in contact with someone that was with them and of course we are trying our best to provide as much as we can help in any way. They gave us the clear to operate today and it is unfortunate that such a tragic accident happened and you know we are trying our best to just work with everyone to see how we can assist. Our operation usually always has our engines started before everyone gets on but yesterday he is his own captain and stuff, I was not here. Like I said we don’t have a manager for the terminal and it started when passengers were already on the boat and he said that usually he would do it that way.”

LOVEFM

Re: Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured [Re: Marty] #536207
05/07/19 06:04 AM
05/07/19 06:04 AM
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Two Girls Die In Water Taxi Explosion

If you're going to the Cayes, hopping on a water taxi is second nature - most of us don't even think for a second about the safety risks on the large, fast vessels.

But, tonight, that sense of safety has been profoundly shaken - and a family is in the depths of grief and loss, after two little girls were killed when the water taxi they were on had an explosion.

It happened yesterday afternoon at the Ocean Ferry Water Taxi right at the Swing Bridge in Belize City. 7News has been following this tory since then and Daniel Ortiz has been putting it all together. Here's his story:...

Daniel Ortiz reporting
2 sisters, 10 year-old Yamiri Yasmin Guy, and 8 year-old Kimberly Melissa Guy, died in a terrible mishap yesterday at the Ocean Ferry Terminal evening, sometime around 3 p.m. The boat that they were getting on to travel to Caye Caulker with their stepdad, 32 year-old Jaime Iteriano, and their mother Roseli Catch, never made it from the Terminal's docking area. The vessel's engine's spontaneously exploded injuring this family, and claimed the lives of these children.

Today, less than 24 hours after receiving the terrible news, we found their biological dad still dazed by their sudden passing.

Efren Guy - Father of the Deceased
"Right now, I cannot say anything. They are far away gone. I am just glad that I still have one of them. It was 3 of them. I really appreciate that my colleagues are with me, and that my ex-common law is okay. She is recovering from the accident that happened, and she can take care of my kids, the smallest one."

The different emergency agencies found panic and chaos at the Ocean Ferry Terminal in the aftermath of the explosion.

ASP Alejandro Cowo - OC, CIB
"There was a confusion and commotion amongst people who were gathered at that location. Police observed several persons suffering from different degrees of injuries, being burn injuries, and other fractures injuries to their bothered. As a result, police visited the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and the Medical Associates, where upon the conclusion of checking both hospitals, it was learned that a total of 14 persons were admitted in both institutions, suffering from various degrees of burns and fractures to their body. Also, unfortunately, 2 minors passed away."

Reporter
"How many of that 14 were locals and tourists?"

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"We had 2 Canadians and 6 US nationals."

"It was a total of 34 passengers that were onboard that vessel, and some of them that was still about to board the vessel."

Benisford Matura - Assistant Fire Chief
"Upon arrival, there a bit of chaos because we had civilians, the police, and we have the injured. My firemen went into - like I said earlier, we didn't see any flames, so we went into aiding the injured, and assisting BERT."

The authorities are trying to find out what caused the explosion

ASP Alejandro Cowo
"What police gathered is that water taxi was about to depart from Belize City and go to Caye Caulker and San Pedro. When one of the engines was being started, the captain heard a loud explosion, resulting in some of the passengers sitting right underneath where the explosion occurred for them flung away from their location, and due to the extent of the blast, other persons received injuries to their bodies."

Benisford Matura
"The boat captain was Ernesto Delgado, 29 years-old. He was assisted by 2 deck hands, Santiago Guzman, and Jonathan Teck. They had just fueled, and when the captain started - they had 4 engines - four 200 horse power engines -when the captain started the engines 1 by 1, on the 4th engine, that's when the explosion occurred."

"We realized that at some point within the stern of the boat, there was a build up of gasoline. So, that showed us that there was some sign of a leak, from either the fuel tank, or the fuel line. We are unable - it is unknown which of the above, but it's still under investigation."

"When fuel, especially gasoline - it has a flammable range of 1.5% to 7.5%, once the mixture of gasoline vapors is within the air at that range, any spark can trigger it off, and that is what occurred yesterday in the stern of that boat."

"We know from the explosion occurred that it was just a flash, because nothing caught fire. It was just a sudden flash because of the fumes that was at the right mixture to creat that explosion."

"The boat had 3 fuel tanks on it, and they were all filled, and nothing happened to them. If those tanks had exploded, it would be a different story here today."

Ocean Ferry's management, chartered this vessel from the company, San Pedro Water Jets International, hoping to cover the transportation needs for their customers yesterday. This terrible accident was caught them off-guard, especially because it happened at their facility.

Reporter
"Do you know whether or not this boat had any particular mechanical issues prior to this?"

Charles Young - Director, Ocean Ferry Belize
"That's the thing that's surprising because it's an internationally run boat. It's inspected every other day that it goes to Mexico. It has to be inspected by the Port Authority before it leaves San Pedro and the Immigration and Customs Department. So, I figured it was a really nice boat, and something that's heavily inspected."

We're told that at this time, Ocean Ferry is going through financial difficulties, and it is in receivership. Money problems aside, right now, they're concerned more about the injured passengers, and the loss of life on their watch.

Charles Young - Director, Ocean Ferry Belize
"It's hard, you know, and I really feel sorry for the families. We're working hand in hand with the authorities, to see how we can help. We assisted everyone as best as we could. We flew people back to the states. We paid for all their medical expenses, and we're currently getting in touch with the families who lost their children, and still injured, trying to work with them, and see how we can assist them."

Reporter
"Would you care to tell us a little bit about your babies? You lost 2."

Efren Guy - Father of the Deceased
"Well, I saw them everyday. When they were at the Xaibe Primary School, I saw them every day. But, I cannot go close to them, because I do not want them to feel that I am not with them. So I just watched them, and never had any word with them."

Reporter
"It must be tough for you given that you had this space, and then now, you lost them."

Efren Guy
"Yes, it's really tough for me."

Police tell us that the mother, Roseli Catch, has been treated and released for minor injuries, but the stepfather, Jaime Iteriano, is still admitted at the KHMH. He worked as a baker in Caye Caulker, and he was heading to the island to report to work when the explosion happened.

The multi-agency task force that is investigating explosion is currently looking at two possible sources of electricity on the boat that they suspect could have ignited the leaking fuel.

Channel 7


Re: Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured [Re: Marty] #536228
05/08/19 06:16 AM
05/08/19 06:16 AM
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Port Authority Conducting Investigation into Water Jet Explosion

Moving on to a tragic incident, the family of Kimberly and Jamiri Guy are preparing to lay them to rest. The sisters were killed in a horrible boat explosion on Sunday afternoon as their vessel was preparing to head to Caye Caulker. The school girls were with their mother and stepfather when their lives were cut short by the blast. The explosion at the Ocean Ferry Terminal at the Swing Bridge is believed to have been caused by a fuel leak. The explosion is being closely investigated by the Port Authority and other agencies. News Five’s Isani Cayetano went looking for answers today and has the following report. 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

In the aftermath of a deadly blast that rocked the immediate vicinity of the Swing Bridge on Sunday afternoon, a thorough investigation into the boat explosion that claimed the lives of eight-year-old Kimberly Guy and her older sibling, ten-year-old Jamiri Guy is underway.  The probe is led by the Belize Port Authority, a statutory body with oversight of local, maritime traffic.

Shirlette Martinez, Assistant Port Commissioner

“So far we are investigating what is the cause, the root cause of this incident and we have met with several people and we are also working along with the police to find out really what is the cause.”

Joining them in the inquiry is the National Fire Service.  Not only were firemen among the first responders on the scene, the department is now tasked with identifying the cause of the explosion.  Preliminarily, it is believed that the blast was the result of a fuel leak below deck.

Reporter

“Are you able to tell us if a proper inspection was done that this particular leakage could have been ascertained and identified?”

Benisford Matura, Assistant Fire Chief

“To my knowledge, no.  We are still investigating that.  Proper inspection and maintenance of the vessel should be, I think that’s a part of [Belize] Port Authority’s guidelines and policies.”

That very same question, posed by a media colleague to Assistant Fire Chief Benisford Matura on Monday, was also fielded to Acting Port Commissioner Shirlette Martinez today.

Isani Cayetano

“Could such an incident have been avoided if the boat captain, for instance, was a bit more vigilant in inspecting the vessel before attempting to leave harbor?”

Shirlette Martinez

“Of course.  It’s a basic check what the investigation, the direction of the investigation is going.  It seems like a basic check that they needed to have conducted.  Anybody can smell gasoline and anybody knows that it just takes a little spark for that to cause an explosion, you know.  So it just needed further due diligence on behalf of those operators to ensure that he had done what he needed to have done to avoid the loss of life.”

Not only did failure to effectively detect a fuel leak lead to a massive detonation aft of the vessel, it is a wonder that the three, hundred-gallon fuel tanks remained intact despite the sudden blast above.

Benisford Matura

“The boat had three tanks, fuel tanks on it and they were all filled and nothing happened to them.  If those tanks would have exploded, it would be a different story here today.  But fortunately, none of them exploded and nothing happened to any of them.  It was just the leakage and the vapors that was within the area that got a spark and created that explosion.”

According to Martinez, Water Jet was subjected to and had passed an inspection last December and was certified seaworthy.

Shirlette Martinez

“This particular vessel was inspected in December 2018 and we checked everything and we rendered that vessel safe and issued it a new seaworthiness certificate for 2019.  It is the responsibility though, of owners and masters to maintain their vessel up to the required standards, check that there are life jackets onboard, check that there are means of communication on your vessel, check that the hull is not defective.”

Isani Cayetano

“In your investigation so far, has there been any look at liabilities in terms of where the responsibility for this unfortunate tragedy falls?”

Benisford Matura

“That is out of my realm, but I believe, it’s my belief that it’s the responsibility of the Ocean Ferry and the boat company to have had a proper check on their boat, servicing their boat, you know, do a routine check on their boats to make sure that everything is okay.”

Channel 5


Re: Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured [Re: Marty] #536253
05/09/19 01:19 PM
05/09/19 01:19 PM
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Investigation continues into fatal passenger boat explosion

The Belize Port Authority continues to investigate an explosion that occurred on Sunday, May 5th on a boat docked at the Ocean Ferry Water Taxi Boat Terminal in Belize City. A gas leak has been reported to be the cause of the tragic incident which occurred when the boat captain throttled the engine. Benisford Matura, Assistant Fire Chief explained that the boat had four 200 horse-power engines and in one of them, there was a build-up of gasoline. He suspects that caused a leak from either the fuel tank or the fuel line. “Fuel, especially gasoline, has a flammable range of 1.5% to 7.5%,” Matura explained.

“Once the mixture of gasoline vapors are in the air at that range, any spark can trigger it off. That is what occurred in the stern of that boat.” Matura added that the explosion came from only one engine. If it had been from two or more engines, the magnitude of the explosion would have been catastrophic. The single explosion though, was still so powerful, that many of the injured passengers and the deceased were violently thrown from the boat.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun

Re: Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured [Re: Marty] #536277
05/11/19 06:10 AM
05/11/19 06:10 AM
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Port Probing Tragic Water Taxi Explosion

On Sunday, two little girls were killed in an explosion on a water taxi which was docked at the Ocean Ferry Terminal, at the foot of the Swing Bridge. 

Had there been no ICJ referendum, that incident would have been the biggest story of this week's national news. 

But the explosion that caused the deaths of 10 year-old Yamiri Guy, and her sister, 8 year-old Kimberly Guy, slipped under the avalanche of referendum information.  

Still, a family is without those two precious lives, in deep and unimaginable grief and, so, today we went to the Port Authority for answers.  They are the primary regulator of vessels on the sea.

In this case, they are part of a a multi-agency task force, trying to find out what happened on Sunday afternoon around 3:00 when 34 passengers were boarding 

the vessel, owned by San Pedro Water Jets International.  They had already fueled up the boat, and were ready to depart for the islands when there was an explosion which killed the girls, and severely injured their stepfather, Jaime Iteriano. Roseli Catch was also caught by the blast, but she suffered minor injuries. 10 more passengers, including 2 Canadian tourists, and 6 US nationals, were also caught in the blast. Ocean Ferry flew them back to their home countries, where they sought medical attention.

The local authorities said that they found evidence of a fuel leak at the stern, they suspect that some source of electricity ignited the fumes, which spontaneously combusted.

This evening, the Assistant Commissioner of the Port told us what they have learned since Sunday:

Sherlett Martinez - Asst. Ports Commissioner, BPA
"The investigation has not seized, it's on going. So far, we have sent a sample of what we suspect was fuel inbuilt to the forensic experts. We have also have conducted a more detail inspection of the vessel where we went under the flooring and we are currently, as we speak, checking the fuel lines of that vessel and the tank that's below the flooring of the vessel. We have still not concluded anything yet, as I've mentioned the investigation is ongoing but as soon as we can confirm positively what is the cause we will share that with the public."

Daniel Ortiz
"When is the last time that this vessel from the San Pedro Water Jets Express been inspected by the Belize Port Authority?"

Sherlett Martinez
"Annually we inspect vessels for renewal of their licenses as well for first time, first time owners. The sea readiness certificate is expired on the 31st of December of each year and this particular vessel was inspected around the 7th of December, 2018. It passed its inspection and it was reissued with a new certificate for this current year."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is there someone to be held liable, either the company's owners for the water taxi ocean ferry or the company that owns the vessel, San Pedro Water Jets?"

Sherlett Martinez
"There will be somebody that will be held responsible, no doubt - however, we have to wait until the investigation is concluded before we can determine who would be at fault in this case."

This conversation also gave us an opportunity to question the Assistant Commissioner about the oversight and regulation of water taxis. 

As you heard, the last time they inspected this vessel from San Pedro Water Jets International was in December of last year.  So, we asked Martinez about the frequency of these types of inspections:

Daniel Ortiz
"Is there any other inspections that takes places with these vessels for sea readiness a part from that?"

Sherlett Martinez
"Well a part from if the Port Authority would get a report of maybe there was an engine problem with a vessel. If we get reports of any defect of a vessel, then we would prohibit that vessel from sailing and then we would also check the vessel and lifting the prohibition if we are satisfied that it's once again sea worthy."

Daniel Ortiz
"Is there any way that the Port Authorities seeks to safe guard the public's interest and public safety for water taxis per say, with more regular inspections?"

Sherlett Martinez
"At the moment, as I said, we conduct annual inspection of these vessels. We hold the masters and the owners responsible to report to the Port Authority if they have any issues with their vessel, any emergency, the law makes provision, any emergency that makes your vessel unsafe. You have an obligation under the law to report that to the Port Authority and we in turn will check your vessel and we will give you whatever recommendation or instructions that we think is necessary for you to put in place before we render your vessel safe to be on our waters."

Daniel Ortiz
"Has the oversight of vessels on Belizean waters increased to match proportionally the growth in the number of water taxis that traverse Belizean waters?"

Sherlett Martinez
"Well we do have officers based at water taxi daily, of course for specific reasons, as again, once we inspect a vessel and we render it safe to on the waters, the onus is on the owner and the operator to ensure that they maintain that vessel according to the safety standards you know. It's difficult for the Port Authority to be daily checking your vessels for you, you have that responsibility to the travelling community, the passengers that you server, that when you get into your water taxi, it is safe. The Port Authority will do all it can do to ensure that gets done and where we can enforce our wars in terms of penalties, we do that."

Daniel Ortiz
"Now I can certainly understand the challenges for resources purposes of trying to maintain a presence at all of these water taxis country wide, but in this particular situation it's almost like the boat owners themselves are acting more like the oversight than the Port Authority ma'am."

Sherlett Martinez
"I would totally disagree, the Port Authority has been every day at these water taxis and we have started to be present on weekends now - where before we didn't you know. So I would not say that the oversight is left in their hands, we have been there, we have tried our best from our angle, we have put in place different measures to make sure that water taxi operators do what is in the best interest of the community and operating in a safe manner. After we have issued a sea readiness certificate, after we have inspected your vessel, issue a sea readiness certificate, we expect that owners maintain their vessels to required safety standards, so that a situation like this does not reoccur. Owners need to ensure that they check their machinery spaces of their vessel as this case seems to be an issue from that angle. They need to ensure that the proper equipment are on board, safety appliances are on board their vessels."

Channel 7


Re: Boat Explosion Leaves Children Dead; Several Injured [Re: Marty] #536348
05/16/19 06:08 AM
05/16/19 06:08 AM
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Did Combustible Water Ferry Overfill The Gas Tank?

They overfilled the gas tanks - that's what tourism minister Manuel Juniour Heredia says caused the explosion that killed two little girls on The Water Jets water taxi 10 days ago.

10 year-old Yamiri Guy, and her sister, 8 year-old Kimberly Guy were killed as they sat at the back of the vessel with their parents who were both injured.

The tragic deaths have highlighted the lack of regulatory oversight in a fast growing water taxi industry. Today, the Ministers of Transport and Tourism said that oversight and requirements will be enhanced:...

Hon. Manuel Heredia- Minister of Tourism
"At cabinet we had agreed that even the local ones will have to produce a manifest. I don't know if that has gone into effect but definitely we have been working on that and I believe that two or three months ago it was agreed that supposed to come into effect as early as possible. Definitely we need to have that. If an accident occurs you can immediately know how many people were there, who is missing or what's not. This boat, according to the former owner, they usually would not fill their tanks to maximum capacity because of the fumes and what not. I am not an expert at that but the new management that took over they were filling the tanks way to the top and then it overflowed because it was not the tank itself that exploded but the overflow of the gases that went into the build. That is what actually exploded. So, there might be a little negligence on that part. But we have to be a little more careful. Particularly because a lot of tourists travel by boat now with our local runs. So, we have to be a little more careful and make sure that this boats are properly checked before they leave, make sure that they adhere to the rules and regulations of safety."

Jules Vasquez
"Minister, with the greatest respect, we don't have to be a little more careful. We have to be a lot more careful. Two girls are dead. I know they are not tourists but two girls are dead and it is a terrible loss for the family. The fact is that a manifest won't fix it. We need real enforcement. There are too many water taxis, your family is in the business, we know that they don't want enforcement because it will slow the flow."

Reporter
"As it relates to the inspection of the boat or the vessel itself."

Hon. Edmond Castro
"Yes that said vessel had been inspected in December. I can't recall if it was in December 14th."

Reporter
"Yes it was in December but my question pertains more to inspection before the boat departs from a port or a dock. When they leave Belize to go to Chetumal they are checked by port authority, I believe the Fire department."

Hon. Edmond Castro
"Well, I believe the same standard is across the board. So, we have personnel at port authority that water taxis docks."

Reporter
"Are you confirming that port authority check that boat before."

Hon. EDMOND Castro
"No I can't say so. But I said we have personnel from port authority at all the water taxi docks currently, every time and that is a standard thing."

Hon. Manuel Heredia
"And you are properly right. If it had been a tourist like that, you know the number one industry, something like 30 something percent of our GDP. If we lose that we are in serious trouble. So, we have to be more efficient and make sure that we are as tough as possible when it comes to safety both at sea and in the air."

Channel 7


Tourism Minister Says Boat Explosion Caused by Overfilled Gas Tanks

An explosion on Sunday, May fifth at the Ocean Ferry Water Taxi terminal in Belize City claimed the lives of eight-year-old Kimberly Melisa Guy and ten-year-old Jamiri Yasmin Guy. The girls were with their mother and her boyfriend and were about to leave the terminal en route to Caye Caulker where they had recently begun attending school. The explosion occurred when boat captain Ernesto Delgado started the engine. The explosion, according to investigators, may have been caused by a fuel leak. Today, Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Junior blamed the company, saying that the tanks were overfilled.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“This boat according to the former owner, they usually will not fill their tanks to maximum capacity because of the fumes. I am not an expert of that. But the new management that took over, were filling their tanks way to the top and then it over flows because it was not the tank itself that exploded. It was the overflow of gases that went into the build. That is what actually exploded. So there might be a little negligence on that part. We have to be a little more carefully particularly when tourist, a lot of tourists travel by boat in our local runs. So we have to be a little more careful, making sure that these boats are properly checked before the leave.”

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport

“We have port authority personnel at every water taxi docks.”

Reporter

“Are you confirming that port authority personnel checked that boat before it left…?”

Edmond Castro

“No, I can’t say so but I said we have personnel from port authority at all water taxi, currently and that is standard thing.”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“At Cabinet we had agreed that even the local ones will have to provide a manifest. I don’t know if that has gone into effect Minister Castro. Definitely we have been working on that and I believe two, three months back that it was agreed that that was supposed to come into effect as early as possible. Definitely we will need to have that. If an accident occurs, you can immediately know how many people were there and how many people are missing.”

Reporter

“The fact is that a manifest won’t fix it. We need real enforcement. There are too many water taxis. Your family is in the business. We know that they don’t want enforcement because it will slow the flow.”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Family is one thing but safety to me comes before anything. Tropic, they are my families but ask them anytime, they are making some request and my technical people are the ones who advise me. Whatever they advice, that is what I will do. I can say, out of common sense, this can work but that will not help. You need your technical people to guide you because we are impartial. If you are wrong, you are wrong. Yes I believe in giving you a second chance, but after that second chance don’t even come back to me.”

A total of fourteen persons, including foreign nationals, were injured.

Channel 5



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Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!

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White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Click for Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, Welcome to a World of Adventure
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
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Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
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Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
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