Ocean Pedal Challenge watercraft found off the coast of Ambergris Caye
Friday, August 24th, 2012
Fisheries Department employees, attached to the Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on northern Ambergris Caye, found a British race craft vessel on the evening of Thursday August 23rd while patrolling north of the Rocky Point. At first the vessel was believed to be a submarine but after closer inspection it was thought to be a submersible race craft vessel.
According to Lieutenant Commander of the Belize Coast Guard Elton Bennett, the Anti Drugs Unit of the Belize Police Department was called to inspect if the craft was used for transporting drugs. “After inspection it was determined that the race craft could not be a drug vessel because of its size and small space. We are convinced of that,” said Bennett.
The Belize Coast Guard official told The San Pedro Sun that the fisheries officers took the craft to the Bacalar Chico Outpost after which they were notified.
The water craft is believed to be one that was being used in the Ocean Pedal Challenge by a team who were attempting to pedal across the Atlantic and aiming to raise £50,000 and awareness for CHUF the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle. The Ocean Pedal Challenge team were a collection friends from Whitehaven, Cumbria consisting of Kieran Sweeney, brother Shaun Sweeney, Callum McDonald and Stuart Quinn. Keiran’s name is still clearly visible on the vessel.
The boat, named Lydia Rose, was said to be entirely self-sufficient with solar panels and water filtration systems, however on the challenge website it states that due to safety concerns they had to abandon the attempt.
It is unknown how the vessel ended up in Belizean waters, and the investigation continues.
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