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Mar 27, 2023

Panamanian Registered General Cargo Vessel Runs Aground Along Turneffe Atoll

On Sunday morning, a Panamanian-registered general cargo vessel that was transiting Belizean waters en-route to Port Everglades, Florida reportedly experienced mechanical failure and ran aground along the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve, just east of the Drowned Cayes. Tonight, the vessel remains grounded as initial salvage operations have proven futile. The vessel has been detained by the Belize Port Authority pending an investigation into the incident, its environmental impacts and damage assessments. We spoke with Darlin Gaitan, the Acting Port Commissioner, at the Belize Port Authority.


Darlin Gaitan

Darlin Gaitan, Acting Port Commissioner

“We have a vessel aground, it is actually near the Drowned Cayes, very close to the Drowned Cayes and it is a container ship. It is ninety-eight point three meters in length, so it is a sizeable vessel. It is general cargo and they ran aground on Sunday, the twenty-sixth of March in the very hours of the morning, four a.m., there about. Currently the investigation is still ongoing, so we won’t be able to say exactly what lead to the vessel running aground, but we do know that the vessel was in transit. They were not destined to come to Belize they were actually headed to Port Everglades from the Puerto Cortes. So, they were passing through English Caye Channel thereabout and the either experienced mechanical failure, engine, or some form of failure within their ship. That caused the vessel to take a left and ran into reef. So, that is where it sits since the incident on Sunday. There are currently salvage efforts by the company to have the vessel removed as soon as possible, but those have not been successful at this time so the vessel is still sitting on the reef.”

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