The Danger of Heading Toward Flat Island (Mauritius) Explained

The water channel situated near Flat Island, commonly known as, “La Mer des Charpentiers”, is notorious for the unfortunate deaths that happened there. On Saturday 14th of March, a French tourist, Josiane Guibert, lost her life there after she fell from the trimaran Babacool into the water. She did not know how to swim and was thus taken in by the waters as the other tourists watched helplessly. Others have met the same fate in the past.

Flat-island

The dangerous channel

The channel is situated between two reefs. It is described as being narrow, around 9 meters in width.

Officers of the National Coast Guard (NCG) have explained that when it is obstructed, outings beyond the lagoon are perilous. Under these circumstances, skippers and fishermen are informed of the danger and they make their way back to safety.

As for the NCG team, it has a boat equipped with a powerful engine, but even then, they avoid the channel when it is obstructed.

An officer of the NCG also added that some skippers sometimes ignore the advice.

According to l’Express, a skipper with 23 years of experience, Christian Bon, affirmed that the NCG does inform the skippers of the danger, but that ultimately it is up to them to decide whether they will take the risk or not.

The tourist Josiane Guibert is said to have been victim of a heavy swell that consists of three waves. Skippers described the first of them as being relatively weak, while the latter two are more powerful. Fishermen attest that they wait for the three waves to pass before going by the channel.

1 comment

  • Narrow channels can be treacherous, as water levels can rise and fall quickly and currents can be very strong.

    It would be good to see the government getting serious about maritime training for all pleasure boat operators, in addition to those working on fishing and cargo vessels. It’s time to invest in the underfunded and under-utilised Mauritius Maritime Training Academy, which is really a wasted resource.

    The previous government said it was prioritising the ‘blue economy’, but if Mauritius is to benefit from the waters that surround the country there needs to be investment in the maritime industries. There are huge opportunities at every level, from engineers to entertainers, shipping insurers to port state control inspectors.

    If there can be more, better-trained maritime professionals in the country, hopefully we will see fewer accidents like this.

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