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Reopening of beach indefinite after boat fire leaves 10 tons of toxic material along BCS coast

La Paz, Baja California Sur — Approximately 10 tons of toxic waste has been collected from Playa Balandra in La Paz after a boat explosion days before. On August 21, vessel Fortius caught fire and sank in a naturally protected area.

The sinking of the boat spilled oil and spread blackened debris along the coastline for kilometers. To date, authorities in Baja California Sur have removed more than 10 tons of toxic waste from the water and shore line near where the fire happened.

MC Everardo Mariano Meléndez, the regional director of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas, confirmed that the reopening of the tourist beach remains indefinite since they continue to locate microtoxic material.

He said that monitoring of adjoining beaches and mangroves is also being done to rule out damage to flora, fauna and the tourist community.

Baja California Sur authorities from Conanp say two criminal complaints have been filed against the owner of the vessel since it was not supposed to be in that area.

The agency reported that complaints with the Attorney General’s Office (FGR) and the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) were filed after the fire, which happened in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On the night of August 21, the tourist boat Fortius caught fire and eventually sank. Baja California Sur Governor Víctor Castro Cosío said the navy was working on spillage containment “so that it does not continue to spread” after the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), Port Authority and the Secretary of the Navy called the fuel spill “considerable.”

Local Baja California press reported that the eight tourists and two crew on board at the time were rescued without injuries. Authorities have not reported on what caused the tourist boat to catch fire.