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DOE averts major pollution incident after Cuban vessel grounding

Friday morning (14 April), a four person team from the Department of Enforcement were on-scene on Friday morning where a Cuban vessel had washed up on the beach at the Reef Resort, tasked with mitigating any further fouling of the marine environment due to fuel spillage.

This Cuban vessel ran aground with 31 migrants on-board. Cayman 27 understands the migrants had been at sea for two weeks, and drifting for seven days.

The vessel had struck the reef near Colliers channel Thursday night (13 April) in rough seas before washing ashore. 31 Cuban migrants were aboard the vessel when it crashed, two were rescued clinging to channel markers in a joint operation of the Joint Marine Unit and the Air Operations Unit.

DOE Deputy Director Scott Slaybaugh told Cayman 27 the hull was being badly beaten by rough surf at the beach, and several containers of diesel fuel had spilled inside the vessel. The DOE worked to remove oiled debris that filled the hull before the vessel broke up and washed out to sea. Inside the hull, two DOE staffers passed out debris and used sorbent pads to remove oil.  A large excavator was on-scene to lift out large drums of fuel, the engine, and fuel tank.

Once the weight of the drums and debris were removed, the excavator was able to lift the vessel out of the sea.

“I would like to thank Kel Thompson and his staff for their great assistance, and I’m very proud of the excellent work of DOE Enforcement staff whose skills and dedication under hazardous circumstances successfully prevented a serious pollution incident.  It couldn’t have been done better,” Mr. Slaybaugh told Cayman 27.

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to josephavary@hurleysmedia.ky

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