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Reef damage suspected, boat owner in trouble with authorities

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Arrecife Alacranes. Photo: Discover

Progreso, Yucatán — A pleasure boat that ran aground may have damaged the Scorpion Reef’s habitat, says Profepa, the federal environmental agency.

Authorities initiated an administrative proceeding against the owner of the Kay Kay, a 30-to-33-foot-long boat, after Tuesday’s incident at Arrecife Alacranes, as the area 65 miles off Progeso is called in Spanish.

The boat’s owner faces a prison term of two to 10 years in prison, and fines anywhere from 50 to 50,000 times the current minimum wage.

The site, which was designated a national park, is part of the Campeche Bank archipelago. The largest reef in the southern Gulf of Mexico, Arrecife Alacranes is about 17 miles long and about 13 miles wide. Only one of its five islands is inhabited.

Profepa personnel inspected the Kay Kay at the Silcer marina at Yucalpetén, Progreso. They found damage at the base of its engines and propellers, and abrasions in the center hull aft.

According to the Conservation and Management Program of Alacranes, activities such as commercial photography, as well as recreational activities, require authorization from their office.

It was not clear if the boat had clearance, although even it if did, the pilot apparently took it off course.

Permits are purchased at the Conservation and Management Program office in Mérida, Avenida Perez Ponce No. 120. For information, call 999-938-0708 or 999-942-1304. Each permit consists of a bracelet for each person on board, good for just one day.

Earlier: Helicopter may have crushed turtle eggs at Alacranes

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