October 20, 2019

Cayman Islands: Statement From The Department of Environment concerning the George Town navigational markers

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crest-with-wordsThe Department of Environment has recently come under considerable scrutiny and criticism for its apparent lack of response to requests for the replacement of navigational markers which demarcate the channel entrance to and separate marine traffic from swimmers and divers that frequent and Paradise Reef.

The Department of Environment would like to offer the following statement to clarify the situation concerning the markers in George Town Harbour and the Department’s role and position in their deployment and maintenance.

The installation and maintenance of navigational markers, swim area markers and reef entrance channel markers is currently the responsibility of the Cayman Islands Port Authority. As the installs and maintains over 375 Public Moorings for use by dive, recreational and visiting boats it has the necessary resources and personnel available for the installation and deployment of wide variety of markers.

Consequently, and when requested, the DOE has in the past assisted the Port Authority to install markers.

With specific reference to the missing navigational markers in George Town Harbour, following an internal investigation the DOE is able to confirm that a call was made to its front desk staff by the proprietor of Paradise Bar and Grill. The caller was immediately and correctly referred to the Port Authority so that the necessary action could be taken. Recently the Port Authority confirmed the respective navigation markers were reinstalled, noting they are subject to frequent damage.

Additionally, there is also a misconception being circulated that the missing buoys in this area are part of the markers and that Eden Rock and Paradise Reef are a separate marine protected area. Eden Rock is currently included in the West Side Marine Park that extends from North West Point to South West Point (Sand Cay Apartments) and to the 80 ft. contour or ‘Drop Off’. The boundaries of this West Side Marine Park are marked by onshore range markers and spar buoys which are installed and maintained by the DOE.

As is normal practice, when an incident resulting in damage to natural resources occurs, the DOE will review, with relevant stakeholders, the circumstances and contributing factors to determine what improvements could be implemented to prevent reoccurrence.

The DOE remains entirely committed to safeguarding the Cayman Islands’ natural resources.

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