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Marty Offline OP
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The Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation (MBECA) acknowledges the concerns raised on social media regarding the sighting of a floating drilling rig about 15 miles outside of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve earlier today. MBECA reaffirms its unwavering commitment to the protection of our marine reserves and the maritime space of Belize.

In coordination with the Department of the Environment, the Belize Port Authority, and the Belize Coast Guard, the ministry conducted an investigation into the situation and confirmed that Rig Frida 1 is present in Belizean waters as part of its re-licensing exercise with Mexican authorities. This exercise requires the rig to temporarily leave Mexican waters and its presence in Belizean waters aligns with the required protocols.

MBECA understands the concerns surrounding offshore oil drilling and reminds the public that there is presently a moratorium on offshore oil drilling in Belize.

The Ministry of Blue Economy and Civil Aviation continues to be committed to maintaining the ecological integrity of our marine reserves and ensuring sustainable and environmentally safe practices in our blue economy sector and blue space.

Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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An Oil rig Appears in Belizean Waters

And the Ladyville Technical students weren't the only ones who had a frightful morning. Today, island residents, fishers, and tour guides woke up to an oil rig in Belizean waters. The rig sat some miles away from Hol Chan but there was no warning or notice that it'd be there. And since Belize has a moratorium on offshore drilling, those concerned were wondering if that piece of legislation had gone through the window.

But, rest assured, there is no offshore drilling happening in Belizean waters. After the confusion made its way to social media, the Belize Port Authority released a press release to explain. And today, the Port Commissioner told us via Zoom what the vessel, named Frida 1, was doing out there.

Darlin Gaitan, Ports Commissioner
"So the vessel is coming in to Belize to... One to do replenishment of stores. And two, because it's operating in Mexican waters and they require them to leave to a foreign port and then come back to port. And so that's the reason why the vessel is in port today.

They received approval from all the five boarding agencies for which vessels coming into Belize need approval for. And so all the five boarding agencies, as you would any other vessel they received clearance for. Yes.

"So what was you're reaction when you saw like on Facebook or social media that people were actually shocked and alarmed and confused as to why this oil rig was out there? Well, I mean, I suppose it's expected it's not something you see every day, an oil rig in your waters."

Darlin Gaitan, Ports Commissioner
"And so we were, we sent out a release to clarify the purpose of the rig's presence in our waters. Now, this has happened before where vessels within Mexican waters are operating and they need to go to a foreign port and then come back to Mexican waters. So we've done this kind of approvals before in terms of accommodating maritime traffic and facilitating maritime in that regard."

"And so it wasn't a new request coming to us, so we didn't really view it in any manner. However, the public wasn't aware of the purpose of the ship's visit. And so, of course, you know, likely they were alarmed."

"Now, looking at the situation, at how it unfolded, clearly it's a lesson learned for all of us. Like I said, vessels come into our waters and we don't notify the public. But this being a very specific case where it's an oil rig and so everyone is, of course, red flags are raised immediately as to why. And so I think it's a it's a very good lesson, but it's also, you know, we're here to inform the public there is no need for concern or alarm in any. We, of course. But yes, for the future, I think it's it's definitely some lessons learned for us as well."

Channel 7

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