Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Update on Yacht

Azteca, the mega-yacht which caused much uproar on Ambergris Caye by environmental organizations and local tour guides, flew its Bermudan flag as it dropped anchor on San Pedro Town waters. According to reports the vessel, named Azteca, dropped anchor within meters of the reef early Tuesday morning in a depth of about 35 feet of water. Law enforcement officers including members from the Department of Environment (DOE), San Pedro Police, Immigration, Customs and The Belize Coast Guard were dispatched to the area where the captain, 49-year-old Mexican, Salvador Villeras Eckart who resides in Cancun, Mexico was detained. As pictured, he was escorted to the San Pedro Police Department at approximately 2:00 p.m.
Salvador Villares Eckart escorted to the San Pedro Police Station by law enforcement officers.

Eckart told authorities that he was heading into Belizean waters, a few miles off the reef, when ropes got caught up in the propellers of the vessel. According to Eckart the engine on the vessel automatically shut down and the vessel took a turn for the reef. To avoid a direct impact on the reef, Eckart stated that they decided to use the anchors to bring the vessel to a stop. The anchors ripped through a large area of the reef before coming to a stand still, however a constant northeasterly wind kept moving the vessel moving in different locations causing further damage.

Unconfirmed reports allege that the yacht is owned by Ricardo Benjamín Salinas Pliego, considered one of the world’s richest man and owner of Azteca Television based in Mexico. The San Pedro Sun understands that Pliego and his family intended to stay in Belize for the Easter holiday after which he was scheduled to travel to Livingston, Guatemala.

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