Mailboat runs aground off Egg Island

M/V Legacy (Video from social media)

By Leandra Rolle

Tribune Staff Reporter


A GROUP of passengers and crew members had to be evacuated from the M/V Legacy after the mailboat ran aground in waters near Egg Island off Spanish Wells, Eleuthera, on Wednesday morning.

The boat was reportedly en route to Marsh Harbour, Abaco, from New Providence with heavy cargo onboard when the incident occurred.

The Ministry of Transport and Housing said in a statement yesterday that reports indicated the vessel lost generation power while en route.

Emergency plans were later activated after officials were alerted to the incident, the ministry added.

“The Ministry is advised that the cargo on board includes 4,500 gallons of diesel fuel, five vehicles, a tar truck and other miscellaneous cargo items,” the ministry said. 

“At present, there is no threat to the environment and all crew members and passengers have been safely disembarked.”

When contacted by The Tribune yesterday, Spanish Wells’ Chief Councillor Robert Roberts said seven passengers, one of whom was an elderly lady, had to be taken off the ship Wednesday after the ship ran aground. 

 “Yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, at about 2:30 (pm), we were able to take the passengers off- seven of them and they were brought in and transported to Abaco which is where they were going initially,” he said. 

 Mr Roberts said up to 11am yesterday, some 15 crew members were still on board and could not be evacuated until later in the day when tide was low.

 They were taken from the ship around 3pm on Thursday, he later told The Tribune.

 Mr Roberts also said the ship was loaded with vehicles and containers on board, thus causing concern about its potential impact to the environment.

However, government officials have already assured that the incident posed no threat to the marine environment there.

 “She departed Nassau to go to Abaco fully loaded so she is loaded with vehicles on board. I can’t speak to how much freight there is in the freight hold, but the deck is pretty full. They got containers on board with cargo in it so she was on a freight run,” Mr Roberts added.

 “That area is one of the areas that is used by all of the charter captains because of the reefs and because of the fish and everything else that’s in the area so of course, everyone is concerned.’

 “Not only about the boat because the boat is a $3 to $4m vessel but they are also concerned about the environmental impact. You see what happened right over in hole in the wall.”

 In a statement posted on Facebook Thursday, Dean’s Shipping Company said of the incident: “In an unfortunate turn of events, the M/V legacy ran aground enroute to Marsh Harbour Abaco on Wednesday, February 8.”

 “The call was made to wait until high tide to determine if the vessel could be dislodged through its own propulsion. Unfortunately, this was not the case.”

 “The assistance of a tug has been enlisted, and an attempt will be made to remove the vessel at next high tide.”

 The shipping company also said that further updates would be provided as more information becomes available.

 According to officials, a tugboat was expected to be at the site 6pm yesterday to assist with the vessel’s refloating once weather permits.

 “The Ministry of Transport and Housing is clearly monitoring this matter and an assessment will be conducted once the vessel is made free,” the ministry also said.

 This latest boating incident follows the recent sinking of cargo ship Onega Traveller in waters off Abaco and last summer’s spill of more than 30,000 gallons of fuel in Exuma waters.


avidreader 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The vessel's track on marinetraffic.com showed her turning south toward north Eleuthera late at night when she was almost abeam of Hole in the Wall. Considering that the true course on the route along the east coast of Abaco is very close to 019 degrees, I can't help but wonder what equipment failure or a failure of positional awareness led to a change of course of almost 180 degrees. Egg reef just north of Egg Island is treacherous and extends east and west for a few miles. Not an enviable position to be in.


ThisIsOurs 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Thank you for that explanation. Unfortunately we'll most likely never know. They issue these "all agencies have been informed" noninformative press releases and thats the last we'll hear about it.

The transportation authority in the US takes these sea and air mishaps seriously and publishes full reports on the cause after investigations are conplete. Here information is swept under the rug.

I do have a question for you, the weather forecast yesterday warned that vessels should not venture out to sea due to rough weather, I vaguely remember a Nassau Guardian report of 9ft(?) above sea level which is something you might hear when a hurricane is approaching. do mailboats adhere to those warnings or are they targeted to smaller pleasure vehicles and fishing boats? And based on travel time would they have had enough warning of the weather? Third could the generator failure have been "unnatural" and due to damage in the rough seas? And based on how rough seas get between January and April what planning is there to ensure an adequate stock of food supplies on the islands?


avidreader 3 months, 3 weeks ago

In response to your questions: a vessel of that size operates more than one generator. If she had lost steering gear she could have displayed two red lights in a vertical line to indicate that she was "not under command". Also, she ran aground about 23 nautical miles from the point at which she changed course near to Hole in the Wall. Even if she had drifted helplessly until running aground that would mean a drift rate of at least 4 knots, something highly unlikely considering that a branch of the North Equatorial Current sets generally northwest and thus toward Abaco. Ultimately the captain has to answer to the owners for as the late captain Diego Ruiz used to tell me out in the Pacific Ocean, "si tu equivocas, pago yo" which translates as "If you make a mistake, I pay ".


ThisIsOurs 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Ah...that is seriously interesting. Rearranging puzzle pieces.Thank you


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