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May 6, 2020

Mexican Naval Vessel Runs Aground on Reef Near San Pedro

Just before one o’clock today, a Mexican naval vessel ran aground on the reef near San Pedro. Official information is that the vessel was one of two registered to the Mexican military that was travelling from Mahahual en route to a coast guard base at the Subteniente López station at the border in Quintana Roo, Mexico. So how did the vessel end up atop the reef in Belize? According to Commander Gregory Soberanis, the vessel was driven off course and crashed onto the reef.  Soberanis also says that both countries have an agreement where the Mexican Coast Guard can transit through Belizean waters to get to the base. The Vice Commandant explains the details of the incident report and what led to the vessel running aground.


Gregory Soberanis

Commander Gregory Soberanis, Vice Commandant, Belize Coast Guard

“Our operation centre received a call this afternoon stating that a Mexican naval vessel had ran aground on the reef in San Pedro. The vessel was travelling from Mahahual en route to Chetumal. The Mexican Navy has an agreement with the country of Belize where Mexican vessels has what is known as innocent passage where they can transit Belizean waters en route to Chetumal or their station and Subteniente at our northern border. And under this agreement they must move expeditiously, they cannot stop—it is continuous transit throughout our wasters. So that is a standard agreement with Belize and Mexico; it is under our international law. What transpired this afternoon was that the lead vessel, which is safe boat class vessel, while entering the channel was using the marker buoy as a reference for entering that particular channel, which is the main channel in front of San Pedro. Unfortunately, the marker buoy had drifted a little bit too much to the right of the channel and it was sitting right on top of the reef. So the Mexican vessel, which used it as a marker buoy as a reference point, eventually ended up on the reef itself.”

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