Abandoned boats eyesore at  Canash Beach
January 18, 2013

Abandoned boats eyesore at Canash Beach

Canash Beach, a popular recreational spot on St Vincent’s southeastern coast, is seemingly becoming a dumping ground for wrecked and abandoned ships.{{more}}

Several ships, powerboats and yachts are anchored at the beach in various stages of decay.

And a property owner in the area told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that the area should be cleaned up.

The property owner, who asked not to be identified, citing fears of “victimisation”, pointed out that “Carla Marina”, the largest and most prominent wreck at the beach, was brought there eight to nine years ago.

The vessel is rusted and shows evidence of parts having been removed.

The property owner told SEARCHLIGHT of conversations with current and past ministers under the current administration, including former ministers of tourism, health, and the environment.

“A few of them came down here and were shocked. They promised that they will do something about it but they (derelict boats) are still lying here,” the property owner said.

Visitors to the beach, including customers of the nearby Sunsail yacht charters, as well as customers of a business the property owner operates, complain “all the time”, the property owner said.

“They ask why it (the beach) is allowed to be this way. I have to emphasise that yachts come here for the first time and have to dock up and be confronted by this.

“I will want for them to have all these wrecks removed as soon as possible,” the property owner said of the authorities.

“I was just listening to [Minister of Tourism Cecil] McKie. You can’t invite people to our shores and have them find this time and time again,” the property owner said in reference to McKie’s contribution to the Budget Debate.

The property owner said dive tour operator, Kay Wilson, had suggested that “Carla Marina” be sunk at an appropriate location to attract marine life and become a dive site.

But SEARCHLIGHT understands that there are questions about who is the legal owner of the vessel and who should pay for its removal from Canash, points Wilson echoed in a separate interview on Wednesday.

Wilson’s business, Indigo Dive St Vincent, is now located at the Buccament Bay Resort in the southwestern coast of St Vincent, but was based at Canash for quite a few years, she told SEARCHLIGHT.

“But it’s very unsightly and given that it is a tourism area, it needs to be tidied up,” Wilson said of Canash beach.

She said the boat can be towed away and sunk at an appropriate location and used as a dive site.

“It will make a lot more sense for it to become a dive site and make it become an artificial piece around Young Island or the reefs around Canash, as long as it doesn’t become a hazard to shipping.

“But, again, if we do that, we have to ensure that when the boat is sunk, it is not going to create a detrimental effect on the environment.

“We need to make sure it is clean — no poisons; or asbestos or oil is removed from it and that involves costs.”

And John Jacobs, deputy manager of Sunsail, said he thinks the wrecked boats should be moved.

He further told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that other privately-owned boats docked at the beach should be moved further out to sea to allow persons to swim at the beach freely.

Jacobs said that while the wrecks are not affecting the operations of Sunsail directly, they are “looking untidy” and some customers have commented about them.

SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday also contacted the office of the director of Maritime Affairs, David Robin, but his staff said he was not in office. During a subsequent call, this publication was told that Robin had left for the day.

Meanwhile, Coastguard Commander Brenton Cain said he and Robin had visited the area last year and Robin should be better able to speak to the situation.

A wrecked, half-submerged yacht at the beach is said to belong to the spouse of a senior public official. (kentonchance@searchlight.vc)