NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Grounding on Reef near Belize of General Cargo Vessel with Difficult Past
By Sea and Coast | 29/03/2023
In order to assess the extent of the damage to the reef, authorities in Belize are holding a general container ship after it ran aground in a critical maritime area. The vessel, which has a lengthy history of incomplete inspections, is still berthed on the reef in a vital maritime lane off the coast of Belize City while the detention process is underway.
The ship, which was bought last year and given the new name Herca-1, was passing via the shipping route west of Belize's Central Lagoon, which is made up of a number of small cayes that are well-known for diving, fishing, and as private islands. The 322-foot general cargo ship, which was constructed in 1999 and is officially listed in Panama, had sailed from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, on March 25 in order to reach Port Everglades, Florida.According to the Belize Port Authority, the ship was transporting break-bulk cargo and containers when it suffered a mechanical breakdown on March 26 at about 4:00 a.m. local time. East of Drowned Cayes, it came to a stop on a reef.
The 13 crew members on board are said to be safe and the ship is reportedly undamaged. Authorities in Belize have started an inquiry, and they are assisting them. A salvage effort is being prepared under the direction of the environmental department, the Belize Port Authority, and the Belize Coast Guard.
As per the Equasis database, the vessel was earlier stopped on November 13, 2022, at Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the incident lasted 25 minutes. Following the vessel's sale, the UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported 13 defects, including a hull crack that they determined rendered the vessel unseaworthy. Also, there were problems with the certification of the vessel, which was a second reason for detention, as well as problems with the lifeboat and life rafts, electrical equipment, fire safety, and emergency services, none of which were reasons for detention. According to the MCA, the ship was discharged on December 8.
Equasis lists a long history of inspections with flaws but no past detentions under her previous name, Jolanta, and is registered in Cyprus. Defects were found in all 17 of the inspections that followed, beginning in 2012, as well as in the inspections that came before in 2011 and 2012.
The Belize Port Authority states that after the vessel is freed, it will remain impounded until an investigation and damage assessment are finished. Until the vessel has been removed, the full effects on the reef cannot be determined.