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Port Authority still investigating sunken barge; environmental impact minimal

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Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020. 10:27 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: On the ninth of June, a barge headed for the island of Caye Caulker carrying a truck, excavator and steel beams overturned and sunk.

The Belize Port Authority (BPA) continues its investigation as to what caused the crash, according to Ports Commissioner Merlene Bailey Martinez.

The Department of the Environment (DOE) has appeared to record minimal environmental impact as the accident took place in an area with little coral cover. The Department has authorized the Port Authority, Bailey-Martinez said, to get the vessel removed when it is done with its investigation.

Bailey-Martinez told reporters: “We’ve had discussions with the owner, Mr. Chamberlain, and he’s working on getting the barge floated, and taken to Caye Caulker… Our initial investigation, we have had divers going down there, taking pictures of the sunken barge. And the pictures are showing some issues with the barge, which we have to further investigate, once it is dry-docked once it is afloat. …the photos do show that there were some breaches in the hull of the barge. The photos show that. The extent of it – but this is underwater but is very clearly seen, and we believe that’s what caused the ingress of water. Once the barge is retrieved, then we’ll be able to do a more thorough investigation.”

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