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May 31, 2019

Sailboat “Shambella” Grounded on the Belize Barrier Reef

Gregory Soberanis

Two U.S. nationals were rescued on Thursday night after their forty foot sailboat “Shambella” grounded on the Belize Barrier Reef. At around eighty thirty pm, the Belize Coast Guard received a distress signal from Shambella in the Sapodilla Caye Marine Reserve. A team from the Forward Operating Base at Hunting Caye was immediately deployed for a search and rescue mission.  The foreigners, a male, and a female were successfully extracted and the vessel was towed in order to prevent further damage to the reef.  Lieutenant Gregory Soberanis provided more details.


Lt. Gregory Soberanis, Belize National Coast Guard

“We immediately contacted the forward operating base at Hunting Caye. We gave them the relevant information and had them deployed and moved to the coordinates that were given to us. Upon arrival, we found the vessel Shambella which was grounded on the reef with two persons on board. They were in no immediate danger so we rescued them. After assessment we had the vessels removed and towed back to our forward operating base where the Department of Environment was contacted and informed of the situation.”


Hipolito Novelo

“Have you been able to ascertain how the incident happened?”


Lt. Gregory Soberanis

“That is currently under investigation. That assessment is being done. Normally in a situation like this, while we are the first responders, the Department of Environment is the lead for grounding in Belize.  We have an inter-agency mechanism that is activated when such incidents occur which involves the Belize Coast Guard, the Department of Environment, Fisheries Department and the Belize Port Authority.”

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