Things aren’t looking so jolly for one of the island’s leading pleasure crafts.
A new beach, which is developing inside the Bridgetown Careenage, is threatening the business of the popular Jolly Roger, as well as causing headaches for several other boat owners who use the area to berth their vessels.
The growing sandbank has already forced at least three boats to seek alternate berthing. There are fears that if the sandbank continues to grow, all of the vessels which use the Careenage will have to look for a new home.
According to the Jolly Roger’s First Mate Shem Haynes, it is a development which they are keeping a close eye on.
He told Barbados TODAY the problem started about five months ago, but had now reached a point where it had started to affect the boat’s operations.
“On two occasions when we were returning from cruises to dock, we have hit the sandbank. That is actually more dangerous than it sounds, especially due to the size of the boat and with sometimes over 300 people onboard, it could result in very serious problems,” Haynes explained.
“The problem has been getting worse and worse. If it continues to develop, neither the Jolly Roger nor any other of the boats will be able to enter the Careenage. That means we won’t be able to offer any cruises and we could very well go out of business,” he added, revealing that within the next week the Jolly Roger was scheduled to host 16 cruises.
He estimated that while where they were berthed was around 10 feet deep, close to where the sandbank had developed was only around eight feet.
Haynes said things had become so bad that during low tide, a swimmer could easily walk from the Careenage right around to the Boatyard with ease. He complained that the situation had also created headaches for boats leaving and entering.
“Once upon a time, two boats could have passed, one going out and one coming in. But now if a boat is coming out, you have to stop out and wait until the boat comes out before you can come in.
“That affects the times we sail because if we are coming in for a cruise at 2 p.m. and when we arrive at 1.p.m., there are boats coming out, sometimes you are out there drifting for over half an hour and then you still have to come in and clean the boat and that means the other cruise is going to be late. It is becoming a major problem,” Haynes lamented.
Another boat owner, who asked not to be identified, told Barbados TODAY the problem was very troubling.
He revealed that owners had to pay the Barbados Port Inc. (BPI), under whose responsibility the Careenage falls, a monthly fee to berth their vessels there. The annoyed owner argued that things had gotten considerably worse in recent months and called for something to be done to address the situation.
Barbados TODAY was unable to reach Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Lorna Inniss, for comment, but was told by an officer that they were aware of the development.
The officer, who requested anonymity, explained that engineers from the CZMU were working in collaboration with the BPI to find a solution to the problem.
Efforts to reach BPI Chief Executive Officer David Jean-Marie were also unsuccessful.