Government boat believed to be sunk
A government boat lost at sea during Hurricane Humberto last month is believed to have sunk, a spokeswoman said yesterday.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport confirmed the loss of Atlantic Spray II.
She said: “A full search for the vessel was conducted, however the boat has not been found.”
The spokeswoman added that ministry officials believed that the boat “was swept out to sea during the storm and sank offshore”.
The boat was reported missing from its moorings in the Old St George’s Channel by the caretaker at Paget Island on September 19.
Humberto, a Category 3 storm, slammed into Bermuda the day before.
A post under Marine Incidents on the Department of Marine & Ports Services’ website on September 19 said that the vessel had no one on board when it went missing.
It added: “Despite searching in the surrounding areas, it remains missing without a trace.”
The boat, which belonged to the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation, was used to transport campers to Paget Island.
The spokeswoman said that the boat could carry about 50 passengers.
She added that the loss of the vessel had “hampered service” to the East End island.
The spokeswoman added: “All Outward Bound trips and camping trips to Paget Island have been cancelled until November 1. Steps are being taken to have the vessel replaced.
However, she said: “The Department of Youth and Sport regrets any inconvenience caused to those who use Paget Island.”
A spokesman for the Bermuda Police Service, who run the Outward Bound Bermuda programme, said that the service was aware that the boat had been reported missing.
He confirmed that the Atlantic Spray II was used to transport Outward Bound participants to Paget Island, but added that “other vessels are also used for that purpose”.
The spokesman said that primary and middle school pupils, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants, scouts and girl guides, Spirit of Bermuda sail training programme participants and groups from charity Family Centre all took part in the programmes.
He added: “Outward Bound Bermuda also provides corporate team building opportunities for the business community.”
The spokesman said that the programmes operated all year and offered “exciting and challenging outdoor experiences for a wide cross section of the community”.
A recent marine incident report dated September 20 said that the Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre had received reports of a “large number of damaged vessels and vessels which have broken free from their moorings and had gone aground”.
It added: “This information has come from members of the public and the Marine Police.
“BMOC is now following up with boat owners, regarding plans to refloat, repair and scrap vessels and, along with the Department of Natural Resources, boats which may cause a pollution risk are being identified and plans put in place to minimise the risk of marine pollution.”
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