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Feb 5, 2015

…French Boat Captain No Longer in Country

The Westerhaven, the Great Escape and the Azteca are three well-known vessels that ran aground on Belize’s barrier reef in the past six years. In the case of the Westernhaven, which beached on the reef about fifteen miles north east of Dangriga back in 2009, eleven million fifty thousand dollars was awarded to the government for damages. Now, in this most recent case, on January twenty-ninth, an OCEANA team headed by marine scientist, Doctor Isani Chan, visited the site to conduct an assessment of the damage. Doctor Chan has advised that the vessel be removed professionally and with haste because the fluctuating tide and waves can push the vessel onto the living corals. But who’s the captain of the ship?

 

Via Phone: Adele Catzim-Sanchez, C.E.O., Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development

“Our information indicates that the French national is no longer in the country and that really is the issue of…that aspect of this response protocol is not within the authority of the department of the environment of our ministry and so that part of the response falls to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And so we have actually very good coordination in trying to ensure that we cover all basis; however, in this particular case—as in others—it has been difficult to keep the presence of the captain of the ship here in Belize.”

 

Duane Moody

“So by the weekend, it is expected that the boat will be removed?”

 

Adele Catzim-Sanchez

“Yes, that is our expectation. We have been working at removing it from the first of January. We’ve had difficulties with the weather pattern and the high wave action which prevented us from moving quicker to get it off the reef. But nevertheless, we have been going out there very frequently and have made several attempts using several different methods. And so we have had to adopt the methods that we are using in order to ensure that it comes off the reef.”

 

Duane Moody

“Is there any possibility that this French national will be charged for damage to the reef if any?”

 

Adele Catzim-Sanchez

“Well we have had some communication with the French national and we are leaving that part of the work to the office of the Solicitor General so I wouldn’t want to comment on that aspect of the work. For us, our level of authority right now and the response from our ministry is really to get the vessel off the reef and to assess the damage so that we can then indicate the cost of the damage.”

 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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