THE Bahamas National Trust revealed yesterday that a sunken barge was recently refloated off Pirate’s Retreat, a small private island within the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP).
The owner of Pirate’s Retreat, Dr Greg Frojker, said that the barge had been completing work on the installation of a breakwater, which had local government, Port Department and BEST Commission approval.
The barge, which is owned and operated by Heavy Marine and Foundations Ltd (HMF) was carrying an excavator at the time of its sinking.
The barge company worked for more than a week on refloating the barge. All savage efforts were closely monitored by the BNT and park wardens to ensure there was no additional damage to the park and its resources.
BNT park personnel confirmed that the barge was not resting on any corals, and there was no significant coral reef in the immediate vicinity. The sunken barge was not carrying fuel and the excavator did not appear to be leaking any fuels or oils, except for minor residual amounts during its initially sinking.
The BNT remained in close contact with all parties involved as the salvage efforts continued, to ensure that no damage was done to the park’s resources, including surrounding waters. The barge was finally successfully refloated late Saturday, and is now making its way back to Nassau.