The Antares, stranded on a reef off Veracruz. The Antares, stranded on a reef off Veracruz.

Grounded ship causes light damage to reef

Oil rig supply vessel struck the Lobos-Tuxpan reef on Monday

A drilling platform supply vessel that ran aground Monday 15 kilometers off the coast of Veracruz has caused light damage to an estimated 1,343 square meters of the Lobos-Tuxpan reef system.

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The ship Antares, which supplies offshore oil rigs with fresh water, was returning empty to the port of Tuxpan when it struck the reef.

Inspectors have determined that no fuel was discharged and that damage to the reef area was minimal and confined to the dimensions of the vessel, about 17 by 79 meters.

In order to avoid a spill and lighten the vessel’s weight, the federal environmental protection agency Profepa started a fuel removal procedure yesterday, which was expected to be concluded by today.

The agency said it was part of the third attempt this week to refloat the ship, which is operated by the firm Técnicas Marítimas Avanzadas.

Once the salvage operation is complete a final assessment of the damage to the reef system will be carried out.

The last time a vessel ran aground on the Lobos-Tuxpan reef was in 2014 when the North Korean freighter Mu Du Bong went aground 13 kilometers northeast of Tuxpan.

The incident damaged about 3,600 square meters of coral reefs, resulting in a 500,000-peso fine and an order to pay 4.7 million pesos in reparation.

The ship was seized in the process on the grounds that it was suspected of having been used to smuggle weapons, which created a diplomatic row with North Korea. The Mexican government scrapped the ship last fall.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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