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Department of the Environment, Port Authority to pursue charges in barge incident

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Posted: Thursday, April 21, 2022. 9:18 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Breaking Belize News has confirmed with high officials at the Department of the Environment (DOE) that charges will be laid jointly along with the Belize Port Authority and possibly the Fisheries Department against Albert Loewen, owner of a landing barge.

The specifics are not yet available, but witnesses have confirmed that the barge was at sea despite a prohibition of sailing order issued last week by the Port Authority. Allegedly the barge left early in the morning under cover of darkness and waited at a nearby caye after unloading to return to the mainland at nightfall.

Loewen was cited for exhaust of black soot released into the Placencia Lagoon from as far back as February, the DOE confirmed but has downplayed the issue. He claimed that the vessel was being moved for repair and was thus not violating the order per se, which he further claimed not to be informed about.

Ports Commissioner Major Gilbert Swazo told Channel 5 News that following the reports, the Coast Guard was engaged to keep the vessel in place and that Loewen and his captain will face fines and charges. Celi Cho of the Department of the Environment noted that their sanctions will be additional to those of the Port Authority, which is concerned with maritime activity.

 

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