Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye

Posted By: Marty

Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/17/12 01:30 PM

The word went out early this morning that a cargo vessel had run aground on the reef near the English Caye Channel.

IT sent off an alarm, because this sort of thing has happened before with disastrous effect to the reef.

7news went to the area today and found out why this case is not as serious as previously though, but serious nonetheless:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
The vessel you are looking at is a Jamaican-registered cargo ship. Its name is the MV Paranga, and it currently has 214 tons on fuel onboard, along with several tons of agricultural products.

Now, the vessel may look as though it's perfectly afloat in the sea, but make no mistake, it is stuck at its' current location - run aground due to a navigation error.

If you look closely, you will see water flowing out the side. It is an attempt by the crew to get it to float a bit higher, but these vessels have thousands of gallons of sea water onboard, which is used to stabilize them while they make their voyages.

Sometime around 9 a.m. this morning, The Belize Port Authority received a call which signaled to them that the MV Paranga had run aground at latitude 17 degrees, 19 minutes north, and longitude 88 degrees, 2 minutes west - or approximately 2 miles southeast of English Caye.

They immediately deployed a team along with the National Coast Guard and the Department of Environment.

All the teams involved made contact with the vessel and its crew, where they were informed that the vessel was attempting make its way out of Belize to Kingston, Jaimaica, when a navigation error caused the crew to misjudge the depth of the waters.

When we got out there, a representative of the Coast Guard informed us that based on their initial assessments; they believe that the vessel did not hit any sections of the barrier reef, as was widely speculated.

Also, the vessel remains intact -none of its cargo was damaged due to the accident, and none of its 13 crew members were hurt.

When we left this evening at around 4:30 p.m. the officials were still out making their inspections and assessing the situation, as to whether or not there was any damage.

We'll have more on this story tomorrow.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/18/12 01:28 PM

Did Cargo Vessel Paranga Wreak Environmental Damage?

Last night, 7News told you about the vessel, the MV Paranga, which was attempting to leave Belizean waters bound for Jamaica, when it had a mishap, and ended up being grounded approximately 2 miles southeast of English Caye.

Well today, we've been following up by contacting all the government departments involved but neither the Coast Guard nor the Port Authority would deign to give us a comment.

This evening though, we spoke to Marin Allegria, Chief Environmental Officer for the Department of Environment, and he told us briefly, via phone, what the environmental officers found yesterday:

Marin Allegria, Chief Environmental Officer
"Preliminary the grounding of her in old rubble, dead corals from years ago and there is some new growth of corals coming up - especially soft corals, small quantities, maybe like 10% of what I understand right now of the surface area. But all that we will know more once we do a thorough assessment."

"We understood today that the vessel is now off, we are setting up a team from the fisheries department, ourselves and the coast guard. We will be out there tomorrow morning in order to do assessment as thorough as we can of the actual site itself."

"Its base on that hopefully in the early afternoon we can have more details and more information on the extent and the type of damage in terms of live or dead corals or just sand bar. Whatever it was that it ran aground on."

We also asked him about the status of the crew and captain, and he told us that they will remain in Belize until the investigation has finished.

Marin Allegria, Chief Environmental Officer
"From the preliminary - it was just leaving, a few minutes thereafter. It was not active live corals as such. Fortunately for that but it is in old rubble corals as we call it."

"That is preliminary is not in area that would cause severe damage to coral formation. We will be going there tomorrow morning and then by Friday morning we will have everything already wrapped up. In the meantime we understand Port Authority, we have just spoken to them - we are working with the captain and the agency for us to try to resolve this fast - in the sense we are asking them to stay in Belize waters right now while we do the quick assessment tomorrow so that by Thursday we know what the incident is all about and where we are with the ship and the environmental issue thereof."

The authorities hope to have the results of their investigation as early as Friday, at which point, they will decide on whether or not they will pursue legal action against the company which owns the boat.

The lead organization, the Belize Port Authority, refused to comment saying that they will do so after they complete their investigation. At this point, there is no information about who or what was responsible for the navigational error.

Channel 7

Posted By: Judyann H.

Re: Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/18/12 09:50 PM

This is sad for the Reef.....However, as a side note for a little levity....We just got an e-mail saying our container was on this ship and will be delayed.....All we can do is smile....
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/19/12 02:48 AM

"We just got an e-mail saying our container was on this ship and will be delayed".

A bit strange considering the ship was leaving Belize when it ran aground...

We wondered what the ship was doing sitting out in the open when we came out from Turneffe after going through the inside from Blackbird Caye. Ships that aren't already in and unloading at that time of day are losing money.
Posted By: Judyann H.

Re: Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/19/12 03:58 AM

Hmmmm....thank you for the information....I'll confirm this with our shipping company....
Posted By: Judyann H.

Re: Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/19/12 01:55 PM

It turns out I misunderstood.....this is what we were sent via e-mail in response....

Right now the schedule of the feeder vessels to Belize has been “thrown off” due to the situation of the Paranga this week running aground off English Caye.

Somehow it is still a part of our Belize adventure.....
Posted By: Marty

Re: Cargo Ship Runs Aground Off English Caye - 07/25/12 01:12 PM

Paranga Departs Without Paying Fine

Last week, we told you about the Jamaican cargo vessel, the MV Paranga, which ran aground about 2 miles southeast of English Caye on Monday, July 16.

We contacted the Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Allegria, who told us that the initial investigation done by the Department of Environment revealed that the vessel did not hit the reef as was suspected.

He did say that they were to go back out last week to do an in depth environmental assessment to see if there was any major damage. Well, we contacted Allegria yesterday and he told us that the recent bad weather from last week prevented them from going out, but they will do that assessment before this week ends.

And in relation to the Paranga, we received reports that it was allowed to leave Belizean waters over the weekend, even though the investigation hasn't completed. Allegria also confirmed our information saying that it was allowed to leave because it gave the Belize Port Authority, who is leading the investigation, certain assurances that they will return.

According to Allegria, the vessel makes regular stops in Belize ever 7 to 10 days.

Channel 7

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