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Jul 17, 2012

D.O.E. begins detailed investigation after the MV Paranga is moved

The MV Paranga remains in Belizean waters tonight, but it is no longer grounded near English Caye. According to the Port Authority, they are still investigating to determine what caused the Jamaican registered cargo ship to run aground on Monday morning. It has been confirmed that when the tide rose on Monday night, the vessel was once again afloat and was able to move. But the vessel, which was transporting agricultural products and two hundred and fourteen tons of fuel to Kingston, Jamaica, will remain in country for the duration of the investigation. As it relates to damage caused by the ship, the Chief Environmental Officer, Martin Alegria, told News Five today that based on their preliminary assessments, it is not as severe as was initially expected. But now that the vessel has been moved, Alegria says a detailed analysis will be done to determine what penalties—if any—will be levied.


Via Phone: Martin Alegria, Chief Environmental Officer

Martin Alegria

“At this stage, my officers along with Port Authority and the Coast Guard were out there up to last night, I would say about six p.m. when it became dark. Again, because of the darkness, we only made preliminary assessments. We need to go back as soon as possible in order to do the detailed damage assessment. But from the verbal briefing I got from my officers is that the ship did run aground close to some coral patches. It ran fully on ground, almost the length of the ship—length and width as such. So preliminarily, the assessment done by my officers is that there are some small proportions of live coral around the surrounding environment. We usually use the surroundings to verify, to see what may have existed where the ship was sitting on. But we cannot do a final assessment until the ship is out so that we can go out there now during the day especially to see what percentage or what type of corals there were there. Preliminarily, there are some less than ten percent of the area on soft corals.”


Delahnie Bain

“So it doesn’t appear to be significant damage to the live corals.”


Via Phone: Martin Alegria

“Yeah, it’s more dead rubble that is recovering where soft corals were beginning to inhabit and you know that’s how the reefs recover or build up. A request was done by the ship agent and through the Port Authority in order to remove it since it was willing to stay on Port until our environmental assessment is done. They are taking the opportunity of high tide either last night or this morning to float it a little and then get it out from where it’s grounded. As soon as that happens, my officers will be out there to do the more detailed assessment along with Fisheries and perhaps with NGOs that will go there and see what the actual percentage and types and so on of the area of live corals that were damaged. We work closely with Port Authority; they are doing their own investigation in terms of the navigational aspect in terms of if there is any negligence or carelessness on the part of the captain. Those things are then—we work together in order to then look at the penalization if that was based on recklessness or carelessness and again, based on the damage to the environment specifically.”


Alegria says that the D.O.E. is finalizing a regional initiative, the Gulf of Honduras Project, which will address navigational issues in Honduras, Guatemala and Belize to avoid future incidents, which are all too common in local waters.

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5 Responses for “D.O.E. begins detailed investigation after the MV Paranga is moved”

  1. Storm says:

    Some other ship owners have outsmarted our authorities in the past and got their ships out before fines were paid. Then, of course, they never return to Belize — and the reef stays damaged, and no fines are collected.


  2. Rod says:

    Someone in this corrupt gov. Will be paid off and this ship will be on its way guaranteed.

  3. Guest says:

    This is enough too many accidents have happen in our reef. I wonder what happen (forgive my Ignorance) but is the lock of warning signs contributing to this, can signs be install?. Once the damage is made significant or insignificant we ca not restore it our, reef is getting destroyed little by little where will it be 10 or 20 years from now if it continues. the money that is collected from this accidents should be reinvested in the protection of our reef, where is this money going to?

  4. Belizean says:

    If I accidentally bump into my friend is also a crime, and I will need to pay 5 million in damages to the gov. to be released!! i get it

  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    Hold their ship for the damages and send their blood cloth back to Jamaica.

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