Motor cruiser sinks after running aground on reef

| 20/11/2011

DSC02533.jpg(CNS): Police have confirmed that a 72ft Pacemaker motor cruiser which ran aground on the reef north of the Sandbar late Thursday night has broken up on the reef and lost almost 90% of 2,000 gallons of fuel into the ocean. The crew of the unfortunately named Plight was rescued, but despite efforts by the Marine Unit, local marine experts and the boat’s own crew to salvage the yacht,  the boat has now disintegrated, officials said Sunday. With bad weather hampering salvage operations, only around ten percent of the fuel was removed and some floating debris from the wreck was saved, but the crew was able to salvage the batteries. Almost the entire vessel, including the bow and its super structure, its engines and generators, is now submerged on the reef.

Only part of its stern is still visible above the water. 

A crew from Harbour House Marine, which has been working with police and the boat owners to salvage the vessel, reported that the fuel tank and extra fuel has broken away from the boat and apparently floated away but there were no signs of fuel leakage in the North Sound.

“The RCIPS Marine Unit and the Harbour House crew are searching the coastline in the area to see if the fuel tank can be located,” a police spokesperson stated.

The Port Authority received a distress call from the captain of the Plight late on Thursday night stating that the vessel was on the reef and taking on water. The Niven D from the RCIPS Marine Unit was sent to resuce the boat but not before the captain was forced to abandon the ship and take to the life boat. The marine rescue vessel got to the location at around 1am and escorted the two crew members who were on board  to the North Sound Bacadere safe and well.

The Plight was crewed by two men, aged 35 and 38, both from New South Wales, Australia, who are still on island and are not suspected of breaching any laws.

The vessel had about 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel in its fuel tank and was travelling from Miami, Florida, via Cuba to the Panama Canal, destined for Australia. The captain of the vessel decided to stop in the Cayman Islands due to an approaching Nor’easter.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Acutally the official name of the vessel is "FLIGHT" 

  2. Anonymous says:

    No one is blaming our frequent inoperable navigation marker lights as the cuase for the wreck. The blame rest soley on the Captain of the vessel. However, people will always make bad judgements. If you have a firearm in the house and you have kids….wouldn't you have a locked gun case? Anyone can buy a boat and take it out on the sea. They get a GPS and think they can go anywhere. Being that we should be administering to our waterways It's called doing our duty to help protect loss of life and the assets we have being our reefs and marine enviorment. There should be more diligence in the up keep of our navigation markers whether they played a roll in this or not. If the government can't do this they need to sub it out to a local firm to maintain the markers and lights. If they already do…they need to fire that company and get a new one.

  3. condor 1 base station says:

    As one poster has suggested their are no Inshore patrols or close monitoring of the coastline anymore unless they hear about "Drugs" then you get every asset or parol boat they have afloat turning up. I personally have seen instances and situation of boats and watercraft speeding in basins canals and waterways nearly hitting people in the waters around this island no one obeys the marine water safety laws. If you mention the words Drugs now they are all over it. I can  recall and incident back in 2000 when a boat found its self in the same position at night and the old  DTF marine officers who were out there on Marine patrol engaged in a daring rescue in hurricane like conditions and assisted  the vessel to safety and also rescuing a crew member who fell over board. That was of course back  when Mr Derek Hanes was incharge who infact had very little equipment certainly not all the new fandangle patrol boats and Helicopter i see now.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Government,

    PLEASE WATCH OUR COASTLINE as a concerned compatriot who lives here permanately and respects reefs for our environmental underwater life.



  5. Anonymous says:

    Since posters are blaming navigation lights, marking the channel etc. rather than the Captain of the vessel, I assume he was an expat. If he were Caymanian he would have been mocked about the fine display of our seafaring tradition.    

  6. Anonymous says:

    "but the crew was able to salvage the batteries"

    Why were the batteries so important? What is inside them?

    • Anonymous says:

      Lead is a component of most marine batteries along with sulfuric acid.

      The acid would be quickly diluted and have little effect. Lead is not very soluable but its probably best to try to remove this heavy metal.

    • Anonymous says:

      What's inside them?  Acid – something we don't want leaching into the North Sound either.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If the markers were not maintained proprely and the charts from Cayman waters incorrect, then those two ozzies might have a law suit to recover the value of their boat. Another cost on the community due to poor government management.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did those two Aussies contact Port Security via VHF radio and ask for instructions like they are supposed to? Surely Port Security would have directed them around to GT harbour.

      If not then the CI Government might have a lawsuit for economic damaged from loss of reef and any emergency response or clean-up cost.



  8. Anonymous says:

    Here is a video tour of the boat:

  9. Peter Milburn says:

    Just a quick comment on the unfortunate demise of what was once a beautiful boat.If they arrived at nite why did they not go to the main anchorage(GTown)and wait til daylite before trying to go through a channel?Did they contact Port Security on channel 16 like mariners should be trained to do?Sounds like a very poor piece of Captaincy and boat handling.Certainly not Caymanian.Still a shame and also the damage done to the reef area.

  10. ALL SEEING says:

    Make them pay for all the damage to our enviornment.

    • Anon says:

      You don't think they have lost enough?

    • Anonymous says:

      Better figure out who 'them' is first.  

    • Frogger says:

      Reckon you might need that pesky environmental legislation in force first.  Shame Mac's buddies have managed to get it shelved again.  Presumably some of them have the direct line to the cosy little apartment in the Ritz. . .

  11. Anonymous says:

    If we had allowed McKeeva to cut a channel big enough for two cruise ships to pass through simultaneously this little yacht would have been safe.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The maintanence of our navigations marker lit as well as unlit is a joke. If you go out side the reef at night better know your way back in with no lit channel markers. If you are outside our reef, especially in rough seas and not familiar with our reef may God help you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Locals will know that the north sound channel markers are offset well behind the dangerous reef and that the markers are not striaght line access.  If you are arriving from elsewhere or a new returning captain you can get into major trouble very quickly!

    • Anonymous says:

      "Breadcrumbs" or death!

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally agree with you.

      If you have never been thru the channels in the day, you are pretty much screwed trying to come in at night in rough seas.

      I have seen those light markers sitting at the bottom of the ocean for months before they are put back up.

  13. Anonymous says:

    So much for the mega-yachtmarina in North Sound!

  14. Just Sayin' says:

    This is the fault of the previous Administration!

    • Absurdistani says:

      Mac, is that you? Didn't know you were "one of dem ol' bloggas" now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It may be an idea to have our channels marked correctly on the GPS charts for international use. For a visiting captain the way it is right now would be really confusing. I have experienced it with the chip in my garmin. We need to mark all the channels properly. especially if we are going to encourage visiting boaters to come here. You cant expect mega yachts to come here with half assed attempts like we have right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      The super yachts that used to visit Yacht Club prior to Ivan had the same complaints and incurred very expensive repairs with chipped and dented props (costing tens of thousands).  They relayed their bad experiences to other Captains in the small yachting community.  This is one of the reasons we are not on their Caribbean destination bucket list.

  16. Anon says:

    This is not exciting at all… way to destroy even more of Cayman…

  17. B miles says:

    Gone are the days of proactive marine patrols all we hear now are excuses of a reactive marine unit overwhelm with expensive equipment. Cant be all places at one time our response time is good. All but for a little vigilance in keeping a watchful eye and ears on our coastline and the waters these things might have been avoided . I guess it was too rough to do patrols in the North Sound now.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Please publish the state of the navigation lights at the time of the accident.


    In the past I have had annecdotal evidence that the navigation lights in the area are not maintained properly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Navigational lightsmay have played a part in this, but with a name like "Plight", the boat was doomed from the get go.