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Ship runs aground at Glover’s Reef

gun boat from Guatemala
Guatemalan gunboat at Glover’s Reef

Last week there was big news out at Glover’s Reef, a Guatemalan naval gunboat crashed on the atoll’s ring reed between our island and nearby Middle Caye. The patrol boat was passing by the reef with another vessel on their way to Mexico when its steering apparently broke down, and it then drifted onto the reef. It was grounded there for about 4 days before another Guatemalan boat was able to pull it off, which the accompanying boat was initially unable to do. Reports indicate that no live coral was damaged, but this is being investigated.

Relations between Guatemala and Belize are currently rather tense due to incursions by Guatemalans into Belizean territory for illegal logging, and a more recent incident at the southern border where a Belizean Coast Guard patrol was forced out of Belizean territory by a Guatemalan patrol. Guatemala has been acting aggressively towards Belize with these incidents due to a long standing border dispute that reaches back to a treaty signed in 1857. The OAS (Organization of American States) has been smoothing over these disputes with diplomatic meetings, but Guatemala continues to disregard its agreements with these continuing incidents.

So the grounding of the naval gunboat has been construed by some Belizeans as another direct threat to Belizean sovereignty, although it does appear that there was a legitimate excuse for the grounding of this gunboat.