Fisherfolk reported Monday that their ships, which found safe haven at Bridgetown Fisheries Complex prior to Hurricane Elsa, were spared serious damage.

But in Oistins, one fisherman believes the government should keep its long-standing promise to provide boat owners with a crane so they can lift their boats out of the water.

Hallam Mayers told Barbados TODAY that his ship was moored in the Bridgetown complex prior to the hurricane passage, as it is being repaired.

He said, “The fishing industry is worth about $ 70 million and all governments have refused to give us a crane so we can get the boats out of the water and rebuild the industry after the storms end. The way I see it, we can get about 200 boats out of the water three days in advance, when the storm is over we can come out and go to other ports to get food or carry things elsewhere as we do in Grenada, Dominica, did. St. Vincent and St. Lucia. In bad weather, I would rather leave my boat out of the water than in it, because when it’s in the water you can’t control it in strong winds.

“You can pull up a 37 foot boat for $ 25 to take with you [Consett Bay]and another $ 25 to bring it back. But to move my boat from here to Oistins, where I live, I would have to pay the Hinds Transport crane $ 7,400 to move it to Oistins and another $ 7,400 to get it back to Bridgetown. And I haven’t even started the repair! “

He noted that shortly before the 2008 general election was lost, the Arthur administration had set up a crane in the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex, but the Stuart administration never put the equipment into operation.

Mayers added, “People think $ 3 million is too much to pay for a crane to support the fishing industry, despite keeping between 8,000 and 10,000 people in Barbados off the breadboard. They tell us we have to pay for the services of a crane, but I see tractors all over the place on the various farming projects in Spring Hall, Groves and Haggatts, and I don’t hear anyone telling these farmers that they have to pay for these tractors. “

But Mayers said he was pleased to report that, despite the overcrowding of the complex, none of the larger boats broke off their berths to smash the smaller ships.

“With this system, the winds came from the south and the water went straight over the quays to the rocks,” said Mayers. “[Hurricane Elsa] was moving fast, and a fisherman down here, tracking it with his GPS, keyed in the coordinates and discovered that the eye of the storm did indeed sweep over Barbados. Those strong winds from the south would really get us into trouble down here. “

Met officials have not confirmed the storm’s eye streaked across the island, but reported that the center of the tropical storm, declared a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning, passed roughly south of the island. Wind speeds of 74 mph with gusts of up to 82 mph were recorded at Grantley Adams International Airport, triggering the cyclone’s upgrade to hurricane status.

Two other fishermen reported that their ships were also in good condition after the storm. One who gave his name as Andrew said, “We had a lot of strong winds, but everything turned out fine. If they could fix the jetty here, it would be much better. “

Frank Armstrong said, “My boat was actually fishing before the storm came, but we managed to get in before it came. In fact, it is best if you are out and about and a storm is approaching or you will endanger your boat. I can see that there are some repairs going on down here that the market really needs and when it’s done hopefully everything will be fine and luckily no one has been harmed. ”(DH)

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