Sunday, April 14, 2024

Burnt boat remains a health hazard

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THE ashy remains from a fibre glass boat burnt by police three months ago are causing problems for boat owners who dock behind Cavans Lane, The City.Several complained that the police had promised that the debris would have been removed the day after the boat was burnt, but three months later it was still there. The angry boat owners, who did not wish to give their names, are concerned that the fibre glass could expose them to health risks and could also be an environmental hazard since it was blowing in the atmosphere.The boat was burnt in the car park of the dock behind Cavans Lane, and the fire was so intense that it even burnt several areas of the dock. The burnt remains have also considerably reduced the parking space there.The boat owners said they had been calling the marine police almost every day about the removal of the hazardous material but all they were getting were promises. “The last thing they told us about a week ago was that the Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) would come and remove it,” one boat owner stated. Another upset man called it “unbearable and a disgrace”.“It seems that the authorities are completely ignorant of this environmental disgrace. They could have sank this boat and made it another dive site, but because the paros were living in it they decided to burn down the boat.”He explained that the boat was seized during a drug run.“It was given to an individual who did not do anything with it, but the individual was not given any notice that the boat was being burnt,” he lamented.Another charged that the fibre glass was sticking to their skin and clothing and causing them to itch.“I don’t know if they know that fibre glass causes lung cancer. When they burn that boat we could not come out here for days because the fire burnt for days and even after it went out the ashes and the fibre glass were blowing around.” The boat owners also want to know who was responsible for repairing the partially burnt dock, since they said boats were usually tied to the dock.While I was unable to reach Superintendent William Yearwood, who is in charge of the marine police, Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall said the Barbados Fire Service only offered assistance in controlling the burning of the boat.I contacted Carl “Alf” Padmore, public relations officer at the SSA, who stated that that agency had no record of a request for its services in removing the debris.However, after being informed about the matter by this column, a team from the SSA descended on the area yesterday morning and removed all of the burnt material.However, when asked about the repairs to the burnt dock, Superintendent William Yearwood, who is in charge of the Marine police section stated:  “I don’t know anything about it. I can’t make any comments about that.”

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