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Jun 26, 2012

Tourists get a scare at sea

The fear felt by the pedestrians in Belize City this morning was also equally felt by a group who faced a different danger at sea. Over a hundred tourists got quite a scare after eight this morning as the Belize Glory, a local cruise tender, started to take in water while en route to Bannister Island, located off the coast of Belize City. While the boat didn’t capsize and no one was injured, the water that had accumulated through the engine room was enough to tilt the one hundred and forty-eight capacity catamaran. The vessel first lost power in one engine, which the captain locked off and tried to make it to their destination using only the other functioning engine. But when power was lost in the second engine, the captain issued a distress call and there was prompt reply from the Coast Guard and Port Authority. Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis, the Coastguard Operations Officer, tells us more.

 

Lt. Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer, Belize Coast Guard

“Approximately eight o’clock this morning, we received a phone call reference a vessel that was in distress. The commandant immediately mobilized a quick reaction crew where we immediately departed to the area of Bannister Caye. Upon arriving in the general area we saw the vessel, it was approximately about a mile, mile and a half east of Bannister Caye; the passengers were already being evacuated from the vessel by civilian vessels that were in the area. One hundred and thirty six passengers were onboard. We got onboard the vessel and spoke with the captain; the captain was very calm he had his people organized and they were definitely tasked us to what to do in an emergency. He informed us that the vessel had lost power in the star boat engine and quickly took on water.”

 

Andrea Polanco

Gregory Soberanis

“Are you able to tell us if the tourists were wearing life jackets?”

 

Lt. Gregory Soberanis

“Yes, they were first of all wearing their snorkeling vests because they were being taken for a snorkeling trip and they were given life jackets as well so they were in possession of life jackets. All the tourists were safely evacuated and transported to Bannister Caye and we as the Coast Guard; we towed the catamaran, Belize Glory, to safe harbor at Bannister Caye where efforts are currently being made by the owner to recover the vessel.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“No one was hurt during the process though?”

 

Lt. Gregory Soberanis

“No, none of the tourists were hurt during the process due to the captain being a very experienced captain and maintained his composure; he was able to swiftly transport them to Bannister Caye.”

 

Soberanis says that an investigation into the cause of the engine failure is ongoing. 

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4 Responses for “Tourists get a scare at sea”

  1. MADDYVANDIJKDEREALISTO says:

    Don’t these people test their boat every now and then to insure security for their passengers?
    This could have been yet another tragedy and even more bad publicity for Belize.

    How many more tourists have to die at the hands of ignorance before security by law is enforce?

    Set some standard for !@#$ sake.

  2. Carnival says:

    This is the type of vessel Carnival wants to tender tourists off Cruise Ships, in the event of an emergency like this, what is the plan? Will Carnival pay the insurance fees for their tourists that they are putting in jeopardy, while being tendered on these boats. The amount of casualties in these vessels are far higher, than what the Bzns are using.

  3. Concerned in Cz says:

    Has the police ever found out who murdered Kelvin Wade on Bannister Island several years ago? We want to know.

  4. Storm says:

    I wonder why the boat sprang a leak, but I give the captain and crew credit for handling the emergency successfully.

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