Daily Archives: February 20, 2010

Barbados will lead investigation into sinking of sailing vessel Concordia

UPDATE on Concordia sinking:

– Captain says “a miracle” that everyone survived.

– Micro-burst: Ship went from upright to sinking in 15 or 20 seconds before Mayday could be sent. 30 hours in lifeboats

“The ship had gone from sailing upright to being on her side in the water in about 15 or 20 seconds,” William Curry said. “I knew, of course, that the blow to the ship was fatal and that she was not going to right.”

…The gust that knocked the ship on its side came so suddenly there was no time to radio for help before all communications equipment was submerged and ruined. So hope rested on a distress beacon that launched automatically when the vessel capsized.”

… from the AP article Shipwrecked students feared remote death at sea

BFP’s original story below with added video at end…

All rescued after school vessel capsized & sank off Brazil on Thursday

Barbados will be responsible for carrying out an investigation into the rough-weather sinking of the sailing vessel Concordia because the ship was registered in our country. According to Transport Canada spokesman Steve Bone, these are rules even though the ship was based in Lunenburg, Canada and was owned by a Canadian school “Class Afloat”.

A total of 64 crew and students took to the lifeboats and were rescued about 500kms off the coast of Brazil. A Brazilian Navy report says the vessel turned upside down in strong winds and that the survivors were picked up after spending almost 24 hours adrift in their lifeboats.

I can’t imagine what it would take to perform a proper investigation into the sinking, but presumably our officials would have to interview all crew and many of the students. The vessel was built eighteen years ago in Poland and there have probably been changes since then. Perhaps videos or photos from past cruises would be helpful.

The news media says that the vessel had a good reputation for being seaworthy and was seriously inspected last year by Canadian authorities as a requirement to allow the ship to travel between Canadian ports as part of a Tall Ship festival.

In 1996 an explosion on board caused the death of a student en route to Australia. There is no indication in the media as to whether Barbados officials investigated that event.

I presume that Barbados will be responsible for the entire cost of the current investigation as it just goes with the job if our country is in the business of offering itself as a flag of convenience to offshore vessel owners.

Thank the Lord there were no deaths because then we’d really have to pull out all the stops for an investigation and in a worst-case disaster that could be expensive.

Now there’s a question: How much does Barbados receive every year for allowing vessels to use our flag? How many vessels and how much money per vessel? What are the expenses to run such a registration system? And what about vessels that default on payment? What does Barbados do then?

It seems to me that the answers to those questions would make an interesting story.

Thanks to an old friend for sending us this video of the ship and its mission…

Further Reading

Chronicle Herald Nova Scotia: Canadian agency won’t play big role in probe

Vancouver Sun: Canadian ship sinks off Brazil, all aboard rescued

The Globe and Mail: First rescued Canadians dock in Rio


Filed under Barbados, Canada, Disaster

Harrison’s Cave Barbados – $85 million renovation, how many visitors a year? Do the math

UPDATED: September 28, 2010

A little birdy tells BFP that there are problems with the new elevators at Harrison’s Cave and that management is debating on a fix – which seems to indicate more of a problem than just a few bad parts. Our anonymous source didn’t say the nature of the problem so we don’t know if it’s something to do with the windows or mechanism. There was a story going round a while ago about a window problem but we haven’t heard any more on that and the elevators looked fine to us when we visited a while ago.

Can anyone out there provide more information?

Meanwhile, here’s our original story first published on February 20, 2010…

How long will it take to pay for our “Investment”?

EIGHTY-FIVE million dollars!!! Is this figure correct?

Just what does $85,000,000 dollars have to do with reality?

Well, well, well. If one just takes into account the entrance fee, 60 dollars, and forgets such things as salary for the administrators, cave guides, guards, gardeners, maintenance crews and any other running costs, Barbadians will still be paying back for a very long time.

$85 million divided by $60 entry fee = 1,416,666.6 people have to pass through the Cave gates. That means, 56,666.66 people per year for the next 25 years.

Or, on average, 156 people, every single day, weekends, holidays included, arriving at the caves for the next 25 years.

We have never been told what the original work on the caves cost or seen anything on the cost breakdowns of these new multimillions.

What about all those who still hardly have running water? Were The Caves, really, the very best way to spend such money?

Continue reading


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Corruption, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Tourism