Oceana Belize Supports Call from Caye Caulker Residents to Remove Stranded Vessel from Reef | Oceana

Oceana Belize Supports Call from Caye Caulker Residents to Remove Stranded Vessel from Reef

Press Release Date: February 10, 2015

Location: Belmopan, Belize


Anna Baxter | email: abaxter@oceana.org
Anna Baxter

Belize has the second largest Barrier Reef in the world, and may be one of the last countries in the world to have extensive areas of pristine reef. Oceana Belize is working to protect this vulnerable but economically important natural resource for the benefit and enjoyment of Belizeans and her future generations. However, such fragile ecosystems are constantly at risk of being damaged from both natural and man-made threats.

Based on repeated requests from residents and media to Oceana Belize regarding a vessel stranding near Caye Caulker, on Thursday, January 29th 2015, Marine Scientist Dr. Isani Chan led an expedition with Oceana’s Videographer Alexander Ellis and Project Assistant Alain Alexis to the site of the incident to conduct an assessment of the damage.

Dr. Chan reports the following:

1. The steel hull sailboat measures approximately 35’ in length.

2. The vessel sits in approximately 5’ of water in low tide.

3. While the sailboat is currently lodged on coral “rubble”, increased wave action could push the vessel into living coral.

4. Residents of the island report that the incident occurred on December 31st 2014.

5. Subsequent efforts for an independent contractor to safely remove the vessel (without causing further damage) from the site have so far proved unsuccessful.

Links to the video and still photos collected during the expedition can be accessed here.

For these reasons, Oceana Belize supports the recommendation that the vessel be removed as soon as possible to avoid any further degradation to the site.

This assessment is independent from any other investigation being carried out by any other relevant government agencies.