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    What a Shame

    By Keith R | January 15, 2009

    Topics: Marine/Coastal Issues | No Comments »

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    Just two months ago a study was released putting a dollar value on the preservation of Belize’s reefs.  Now comes a report that a cargo ship wandered (reportedly while on autopilot) onto a barrier reef 32 miles from Belize City in an area near Caye Glory.

    Experts say that the grounding may have permanently destroyed 10,000 meters of the reef, worth about US$20 million in lost environmental services. The worst part of this story is that under Belize’s Environmental Protection Act, damages that can be charged to the guilty shipping line is $200,000 unless it can be proven that the party in question “recklessly causes a disaster that results in a loss of the use of the environment.”

    This is the second such major reef grounding in Belize in recent months — the prior in December, and it probably caused US$10 million in damage.

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