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Brianna H finally at rest


Heather-Lynn Evanson

Brianna H finally at rest

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It was the rusting hulk of a ship that had been there so long it had faded into obscurity.

Then on Sunday, August 3, heavy rains finished what time and the other elements of nature had begun.

We have no idea if it slipped quietly beneath the waves or if it disappeared with one last fanfare.

But today the Brianna H, the cargo boat that was lying at anchor just off Carlisle Bay, is no longer in view.

The notice in the SUNDAY SUN was explicit.

“Unauthorised persons are asked to stay well clear of this wreck as it is still very dangerous to dive on.”

But the island’s experienced divers are all but tripping over themselves to dive the newest wreck – the Brianna H.

However, at least two lionfish have beaten them to it.

The Brianna H was that rusting hulk of a ship that had been there so long it had blended into scenery.

Resting to the north of Carlisle Bay, but just as easily seen from Trevor’s Way on the Princess Alice Highway, the Brianna H slipped below the surface the weekend before Kadooment Day to start a new life as a wreck in the island’s waters.

Experienced diver, marine biologist and operator at Dive Barbados Blue, Andre Miller, feels the Brianna H is perfect just where it sank.

“We wanted to sink it for many years to make an artificial reef. So we are very happy. It added to Barbados’ underwater treasures. It makes everybody happy.”

Miller said the only thing they would have done was to cut openings in the hull to provide more sunlight inside.

“In a perfect world, as divers if we had planned it, we would have probably cut open sections of it to lighten it up more because right now we warn our divers not to penetrate unless you are a very advanced diver and you have your buddy and your bright lights.

“We don’t let any of our divers go deep inside because it’s not been prepared for diving.”                                                                     

But her descent into a watery grave came as no surprise to him.

In Miller’s estimation, the Brianna H was a reef waiting to happen for a long time.

“It was just a very old boat,” he said of what could possibly have led to it slipping beneath the waves.

“They had to pump it every day to keep it afloat and then there was a lot of rain Crop Over weekend and the rain, the old rust and thing . . . .”

She is what is called a true wreck and possibly the most intact wreck in the island’s waters.

So intact is it that the curtains are still at the windows; knives and forks are still on the table; the mid-cargo hold crane is still on its top deck and the navigation lights are still on its mast.

Judging from the response, the new wreck has the potential to earn the island much-needed foreign exchange.

“I know divers that are willing to come from all over the place to dive this wreck. Everybody is loving this wreck. Every day people call about it from all over the world,” Miller said.

Quick facts about the Brianna H

• The boat was built in 1965 in a German shipbuilding yard.

• Up to 2009, it was called Connie.

• Gross tonnage – 658 tonnes.

• Summer Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT) – 749 tonnes.

• It was a St Vincent-registered ship and was up for sale.

• It was last anchored at latitude 13° 05.4’N; longitude 059° 37.5W.

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