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May 15, 2019

Tourism Minister Says Boat Explosion Caused by Overfilled Gas Tanks

An explosion on Sunday, May fifth at the Ocean Ferry Water Taxi terminal in Belize City claimed the lives of eight-year-old Kimberly Melisa Guy and ten-year-old Jamiri Yasmin Guy. The girls were with their mother and her boyfriend and were about to leave the terminal en route to Caye Caulker where they had recently begun attending school. The explosion occurred when boat captain Ernesto Delgado started the engine. The explosion, according to investigators, may have been caused by a fuel leak. Today, Minister of Tourism, Manuel Heredia Junior blamed the company, saying that the tanks were overfilled.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism

“This boat according to the former owner, they usually will not fill their tanks to maximum capacity because of the fumes. I am not an expert of that. But the new management that took over, were filling their tanks way to the top and then it over flows because it was not the tank itself that exploded. It was the overflow of gases that went into the build. That is what actually exploded. So there might be a little negligence on that part. We have to be a little more carefully particularly when tourist, a lot of tourists travel by boat in our local runs. So we have to be a little more careful, making sure that these boats are properly checked before the leave.”

 

Edmond Castro, Minister of Transport

“We have port authority personnel at every water taxi docks.”

 

Reporter

“Are you confirming that port authority personnel checked that boat before it left…?”

 

Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro

“No, I can’t say so but I said we have personnel from port authority at all water taxi, currently and that is standard thing.”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“At Cabinet we had agreed that even the local ones will have to provide a manifest. I don’t know if that has gone into effect Minister Castro. Definitely we have been working on that and I believe two, three months back that it was agreed that that was supposed to come into effect as early as possible. Definitely we will need to have that. If an accident occurs, you can immediately know how many people were there and how many people are missing.”

 

Reporter

“The fact is that a manifest won’t fix it. We need real enforcement. There are too many water taxis. Your family is in the business. We know that they don’t want enforcement because it will slow the flow.”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Family is one thing but safety to me comes before anything. Tropic, they are my families but ask them anytime, they are making some request and my technical people are the ones who advise me. Whatever they advice, that is what I will do. I can say, out of common sense, this can work but that will not help. You need your technical people to guide you because we are impartial. If you are wrong, you are wrong. Yes I believe in giving you a second chance, but after that second chance don’t even come back to me.”

 

A total of fourteen persons, including foreign nationals, were injured.


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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