Inhabitants of Le Bouchon Petitioning Against Dynamiting Operation To Free MV Benita

A dynamiting operation will soon be implemented to free shipwrecked MV Benita from the coral reefs at Le Bouchon. However, the inhabitants of the region are voicing out their concern against this decision, arguing that the lagoon would be subjected to yet another disaster.

Over a hundred of inhabitants have signed for the petition; they are worried as to the fate of the coral reefs.

MV Benita stuck in coral reefs. Photo credits: DefiMedia.info.
MV Benita stuck in coral reefs.
Photo credits: DefiMedia.info.

People of Le Bouchon and from the neighbouring villages are raising their voices against the decision of the authorities to use dynamite to get MV Benita out of the coral reefs. They have rallied together through a petition. They fear lest the current situation might come with negative impacts on marine organisms and birds that feed at sea.

They might even go for a demonstration, according to the treasurer of the Petit Bouchon Benevolent Association (an organisation that has been created to embellish and maintain the beach of Le Bouchon), Éric Heidrich. The latter also says that they wish to have access to information relating to what will be done to the coral reefs. The NGO has already contacted the police force at Plaine-Magnien to communicate their intentions to contest the dynamiting procedure.

The opponents of the dynamiting exercise add that alternative methods exist to free the ship, such as those entailing hydraulic pressure.

Fishermen from the region have also expressed their apprehension. They worry lest caves from where they obtain lobsters are destroyed if dynamiting is performed.

The benevolent group wishes to do more than just contesting the dynamiting procedure. They also look forward to enlisting their participation in cleaning the lagoon. Éric Heidrich explains that they intend to extend their efforts to the beach as well to limit the negative consequences. However, they need an official authorisation from the Police Commissioner and from the Ministry of Environment to do so.

Meanwhile, the authorities are trying to find ways to break the rock where MV Benita is stuck. Tests have been conducted by officers of the Special Mobile Force on Tuesday, July 5, in an open area situated in the east of the island, to determine the method to be used to free the ship (implosion or controlled blasting). More tests will be done tomorrow, July 8, in the presence of American expert Gary DeMarsh and others from Five Ocean Salvage. A final decision will only be made after all tests have been made.

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