It has been one week since the Carlisle Bay Marine Park welcomed its newest member, and already it is proving quite popular with divers. The former flagship vessel of the Barbados Coast Guard, the MV Trident, became another attraction on the seabed when it was scuttled last Thursday.
She joined six other wrecks in the popular diving area: notably Barbados’ first tugboat Bajan Queen, the World War I French tugboat Berwind, the 110-foot freighter and former drug boat Ellion, a derelict boat constructed of cement Ce-Trek, a naval landing barge, and the Cornwallis, a Canadian freighter sunk by torpedo from a German U-boat during World War II.
Water quality analyst of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Richard Suckoo, told Barbados TODAY that apart from being a new underwater attraction, the wreck was also an added benefit to the marine environment.
“Divers will go under the water to see . . . the corals, as well as the wrecks. By introducing an attraction such as this, you will basically diffuse the pressure of humans’ interaction with the reef, because now they have an option to go to the reefs or go to the wrecks. So they will go to the wrecks and you’ll release some pressure on the reefs.
“Another thing is, in that area you didn’t have much marine life; and now you’ve given them something to settle on, you will generate some new habitat,” Suckoo explained.
He noted that while the ship was just metal at the moment, over time various marine organisms would begin to populate the site, thereby creating an artificial reef.
“So you’ll start to see fish and so on moving in and eventually you’ll start to see corals and stuff. Algae will come and then the corals and it will basically become a habitat –– a habitat for all kinds of marine creatures,” the analyst said.
Suckoo added that the correct environmental safety procedures were followed before the ship was sunk, to ensure the area and marine life were not compromised.
“It wasn’t just you know they [Coast Guard] take up an old boat and said, ‘Let’s sink it’. I think it was a couple of months that they took stripping the vessel, taking out all the various pollutants in the vessel.
“That would include places where you have oils and grease and so on, and any asbestos, any fibreglass and that kind of thing. All that was removed in accordance with our standards here in Barbados. What was sunk was an innocuous shell of a vessel. So it has posed no environmental risk.
“Coastal Zone was in on the project from the very beginning. Of course, we have a mandate to protect marine resources. We’re not going to put something out there that will be harmful to the environment. So due diligence was done,” Suckoo said.
Special care was also taken in choosing the site for the final resting place for the MV Trident.
“The area that we selected is an area that didn’t have any coral reef or anything like that; it was bare sand . . . . One of the major things would be if this big heavy vessel crashes a whole lot of corals; that would be something to be concerned about. That’s why we chose an area that was all sand,” Suckoo said.