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Cancun, Riviera Maya sargassum collection vessels nearing completion

Cancun, Riviera Maya — The Mexican Secretariat of the Navy says that four sargassum vessels are in the process of being constructed to battle the seaweed issues around Cancun and Riviera Maya.

With an investment of 7.5 million peso each, the navy reports the construction of the sargassum barges in the Coatzacoalcos (Veracruz) shipyard.

Arat Cárdenas Lizárraga, frigate captain and naval engineer, said that once complete, each vessel will be able to make four two-hour tours to remove sargassum from the sea, collecting up to 80 tons per day.

Each boat is 15 meters long by 5.4 meters wide with two engines that will give them a speed of 11 kilometers per hour (six knots) without load, and 5.5 kilometers per hour (3.5 knots) loaded. They will sail at a depth of between 40 and 80 centimeters,” explained Rear Admiral Zamora.

Each vessel will have a crew of four and a collection system to capture and compact the seaweed. They will be outfitted with two 90-horsepower outboard engines, a five-ton capacity crane and a belt system, similar to those used by airports to move luggage.

Although the worst of the sargassum season has passed for Cancun and Riviera Maya, he said that the boats would be delivered between October 2019 and January of 2020. When finished, the units will be transported by land from Coatzacoalcos to Chetumal and by sea to the areas of operation.