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Battered boats

Damage done by rough seas.

by Donna Sealy

The rain associated with the Tropical Storm Issac might not have caused more than a few roads and low-lying areas to be flooded but it has left some fishermen in Oistins counting their losses.

Three boats, including one that was submerged, were severely damaged in the wee hours of today after the pounding surf lashed them unmercifully.

Steven Bourne, who has been fishing for 44 years, told Barbados TODAY that he secured his fishing boat with rope before heading home last night only to return this morning between 7 o’clock and 7:30, to realise it had washed up on a sandy inlet further down the coast.

He subsequently returned it to Oistins.

“We didn’t get any warning. The two depressions that passed here earlier we got warnings and all the boats went to town. Who could’ve hauled out, but the majority of the boats went to town; but this time you didn’t get any warnings,” he said

“It wasn’t supposed to pass that close to us so nobody was looking for that damage. All of a sudden the sea just [swelled] … you can see it’s still rough and it was worse than this.

“Yesterday evening about 5 o’clock the sea started getting rough so the fellas say the storm too far down to cause any damage and the sea would get no worse than how it looked, so we carried the boats out into deeper water and that’s how the boats get deeper than inside. We know that inside is rough. Nuff of the bigger boats were hauled out so we carried them to the bigger boats’ chain,” he said.

Stating he was not complaining and would incur the losses, he said that after the damage done, some of the other boat owners had taken no chances with the high surf and sailed to the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex for safe harbour.

Bourne said that his “open boat” could be repaired even though it had lost the canopy, the console in the steering had broken away and the engine was damaged “real bad”.

He said he would have to wait for the waters to be calm “in another two days or so” before hauling in the boat to do any further assessment.

He also said he would call the Fisheries authorities and report the damage.

One of the boats – Blue Ocean 2 – ran aground and was brought in and placed on the lawn next to the boatyard.

He said that boat was owned by someone who was overseas and the captain was not around when the Barbados TODAY team stopped by.

Bourne pointing to a gash, noted that half of the engine and the gearbox “pop off and gone”.

“This is damaged worse than mine. I would say that it should be able to be repaired but it will cost a lot. It wasn’t built in Barbados, it was a boat that was worked on and brought in from overseas,” he said. “All up inside there shake up and break away.”

The submerged boat contained 700 yards of net which is now floating near the jetty.

The damage, he said, would set him back as he went fishing every day, weather permitting.

Officials at the Meteorological Department said that the forecast called for two to 2.5 metres in sea swells and there was an advisory asking people to be cautious. That official also said that the models used did not forecast anything unusual in “our area”.

Once the winds shifted to the west and the south-west, a cross current was created, which probably contributed to the swells,” it was explained.

The swells should begin decreasing gradually as the week progresses.

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