Mexico enlists four ships to fight sargassum on its beaches. With an investment of 30 million pesos, the Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) advances as planned in the construction of the first collection boats of this macroalgae.
The ships are assembled in the Shipyard number 3 of the Secretariat of the Navy, located in the Veracruz port of Coatzacoalcos and in charge of the General Directorate of Naval Construction of the Semar.
According to the agency, the first vessel would be ready next October and the rest in the following three months, then be sent to the shores of Quintana Roo, one of the areas most affected by the macroalgae.
Each ship will be manned by four sailors and can extract up to 80 tons per day of this seaweed, for a total of 320 among the four.
“These ships are a fundamental part of the Mexican government’s strategy to contain the atypical phenomenon of sargassum and its characteristics make them ideal for navigation in the Mexican Caribbean,” said the director of said shipyard, Jorge Daniel Zamora.
Daniel Zamora stressed that the construction of the four ships are made 100% with “Mexican hands and internationally recognized and certified quality”, in addition to contributing to the training for local labor and economic development in the region.
The construction of the four ships is in charge of 24 elements under the General Directorate of Naval Construction of the Semar and its equipment consists of a five-ton crane, three conveyor belts for sargassum, a bag collection system of 600 kilograms each and a washing system to avoid possible contamination where the sargassum will be deposited.
Jorge Daniel Zamora explained that currently, the first ship records the progress of 80% in its construction and the other three 40%, while each collection vessel will sail at a depth of 40 to 80 centimeters, depending on the weight of the cargo.
They are expected to have up to four routes per day, with a duration of two hours each and with the capacity to collect 20 tons per trip. ( Marine confirms collecting 155 tons of sargassum at sea ).
The sargassum does not present aggressive leachates or harmful to the terrestrial environment, according to Mexican authorities, however, its excessive presence causes damage to ecosystems and endangers hundreds of species.
The tests carried out by Navy personnel to measure pollution were in coastal waters and ocean waters, giving satisfactory results in both cases.
In addition, a drift buoy test phase is maintained, an oceanographic instrument that helps “locate and identify the trajectory of sargassum aggregations.”
“These buoys have intelligent telemetry, which allows them to send their geographical position via satellite thanks to their resistant components and photocells, which keep this instrument powered with sustainable autonomy for several months,” said Semar in a statement shared a week ago.
Sargasso is an algae that originates in the Sargasso Sea, in the Atlantic Ocean, between the coasts of the United States and Europe.
For more than five years, a large portion of it has been detached and located between the coasts of Africa and Brazil, from where the sea currents transfer it to the Caribbean.
In recent years, the Mexican coast has been particularly affected by this seaweed that threatens the turquoise paradise of the sea.
In economic terms, a few months ago it was revealed that Quintana Roo hotels spent last year around one million pesos (about USD 52,089) per month to remove the sargassum from the beaches.
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, considers the phenomenon a “minor matter”, although he has announced measures to cushion the impact of sargassum on the Mexican coast.
Among the conditions that may be influencing the current proliferation of sargassum are sea temperature, increased evaporation versus precipitation, as well as water pollution.
According to the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), since 2018 specimens of 72 species, mainly fish but also crustaceans and other animals, have died on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean, due to sargassum.
Mortality would be related to the decomposition of the aforementioned algae, which would cause a deterioration of water quality that would end up affecting other living beings.
The Mazatlan Post