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Mar 24, 2015

D.O.E. Assesses Reef Damage Caused by Submersible

The Department of Environment, along with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Management, extracted the deep water submersible that has been lodged in the reef in front of San Pedro for the past few weeks. Following Saturday’s removal of the piece of equipment, the Hol Chan team wrapped up an assessment on the area where the submersible was stuck on the reef. News Five spoke with manager of the reserve, Miguel Alamilla, who said that following today’s evaluation it will be in the D.O.E.’s hands after the report is handed over later this week. 


Via Phone: Miguel Alamilla, Manager, Hol Chan Marine Reserve

“We spent an entire week looking at the issue and planning and preparing and we were able to execute the removal this Saturday. It took about two hours for us to get to the site and remove the submersible.”


Miguel Alamilla

Andrea Polanco

“Now, I understand the next steps are to one, conduct an assessment. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office was involved in that step. Can you tell us a little about what was conducted today?”


Via Phone: Miguel Alamilla

“Well, we did a damage assessment. We looked at the damage to the reef; to try to quantify the damage. That was done today because of the weather conditions on the reef crest. It needs to be very calm to be able to work on the crest because if there is too much wave action we cannot work there. I cannot give you details because we just went onsite and collected the data and a report is being prepared for the Department of the Environment.”


Andrea Polanco

“Mr. Alamilla, when you talk about the collection of data, can you give us a little bit more in terms of what you specifically you looked at; damage of coral and so on?”


Via Phone: Miguel Alamilla

“Yes, we quantified the damage and look at the area and measure to do actual measurement for the extent to determine how much coral reef were damaged and we also have to establish what were the conditions of the reef before it was damaged; if it had a high coral cover for example, or a low coral cover. And depending on that, all of the information is used to determine what fine or penalties will apply to the company.”


Andrea Polanco

“Would you be able to say if there was actual damage that you’re able to see when you go out there?”


Via Phone: Miguel Alamilla

“Well, definitely there was damage to the reef. Given the size of the vehicle which was twelve feet long by eight feet wide that determines the extent of the damage. There definitely was damage not as extensive as other sites’ damage that I have looked at. But damage was done to a small section of the reef crest.”

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