BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - A shipping vessel preparing for a standard voyage between St. Kitts and Nevis sank earlier today (Apr. 29) after being partially loaded with its cargo of sand.
The Dominica-registered M.V. BoII was scheduled to haul six trucks filled with sand from St. Kitts to Nevis. However, around 1:10 p.m. today the vessel began to take in water after loading the fifth truck and quickly sank until it settled on the shallow bottom of the St. Kitts shipping port.
All crew members were able to safely escape to shore, but the cargo aboard the ship was quickly flooded as the storage compartment filled with sea water.
While the vessel is owned by Sakra Shipping, it is operated in its standard route between St. Kitts and neighbouring islands by the TDC Group of Companies.
SKNVibes spoke to Winston Hendrickson, Manager of the TDC Shipping Department, who said that he could not speak to a specific cause for the accident at this time.
“We can’t really say what happened until the investigations are completed. Obviously we have some ideas, but we don’t want to speculate right now,” he said.
Hendrickson noted that hauling the heavy load of trucks filled with sand was “nothing new” for that particular vessel.
“This is not the first time we have hauled sand with this vessel. We have done it several times. It is also typically used for hauling cargo such as building materials, concrete blocks and bottled drinks between the TDC companies in the region.”
The scene of the accident was alive with rescue personnel, port officers and representatives of the Department of Maritime Affairs.
Director of Maritime Affairs McClean Hobson said that his team is currently undertaking investigations to determine the cause of the accident.
“It is somewhat ironic because I just returned from a training course in Suriname that dealt with investigating marine accidents. While we can’t speak to the cause right now, we have a responsibility to determine the cause and make sure it does not happen again,” Hobson said.
Hendrickson said that TDC would attempt to “pump out some of the sand to lighten the vessel and hopefully right it without using too many tugs” to prevent any further damage.
He noted that if the ship remained too heavy after removing the sand, the company would have to then attempt to remove the trucks trapped inside.