Press "Enter" to skip to content

Authorities warn of 32,000 ton sargassum bloom heading for Mexican Caribbean

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — In a Friday press conference, Admiral José Rafael Ojeda Durán, detailed efforts being made to fight the state’s battle with sargassum, while also warning about the “excessive” arrival of more.

He reported that in the fight, there are 328 naval personnel deployed, 11 sargassum collection vessels, 23 support ships and five air units based out of Isla Mujeres, Chetumal and Cozumel.

He said since February 15 of this year, more than 97 tons of sargassum has been collected at sea and 9.4 tons removed from the municipal beaches of of Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel, Paya del Carmen, Tulum and Mahahual. There are 618 paid sargassum collection workers along the coast.

The Admiral explained that the sargassum collection vessel Hystrix collected 5.7 tons in the vicinity of Puerto Morelos. He said 30 double anchor points were marked out for the sargassum containment barrier in Playa del Carmen covering 457 meters with the support of underwater work personnel and crews from smaller vessels.

Likewise, the sargasso ships Fluitans, Horneri and Rigidulum are working in the vicinity of Puerto Aventuras to continue with planned operations as soon as the weather conditions improve.

Due to ongoing unsuitable navigation weather conditions, there are still no containment barriers or sargassum collection vessels installed in Mahahual.

He also explained that at the moment, sargassum levels are not considered extreme on most beaches, but that there is a forecast of 32,000 tons on its way. While he did not provide an estimated date of arrival, the Admiral did say they are preparing to do their best to stop as much as possible from making landfall.

The mass bloom, he described, has a density of approximately 50 percent which means their forecast could be underestimated. A large percentage of its current trajectory is aimed toward the Mexican Caribbean, however, a portion is expected to continue its trajectory toward the Gulf of Mexico.

If this occurs, then the arrival of seaweed for the coast of Quintana Roo would see a real decrease. However, Ojeda Durán still warns of a category “eight” arrival, which he explained, is considered “excessive”.