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September 1999 Vol. 14, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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St. Lucia Explosion Fallout

from the September, 1999 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In January, 1998, Undercurrent reported on a series of boat explosions in St. Lucia. The first explosions involved boats belonging to a Grenadan charter operator and were widely believed to be acts of sabotage designed to discourage a foreign entrepreneur. The October 19, 1997, explosion, however, occurred on a dive boat belonging to the Sandals Halcyon resort. Four divers, including one American, died in the explosion.

Few disputed that the immediate cause of the explosion was a ruptured fuel line under the boatís sealed deck that filled the hull with fumes. When the captain started the bilge bump, the fumes ignited, hurtling divers 30 feet into the air. However, both the cause of the ruptured fuel line and whether there was any connection between the Sandals explosion and the earlier bombings were undetermined.

Now it seems the matter has been put to rest. On July 14, the five-member St. Lucia Coronerís Court ruled that poor maintenance by Sandals had resulted in the explosion. The manager of the Sandals Halcyon hotel said he was disappointed with the verdict but declined further comment. The decision reportedly clears the way for civil suits against Jamaica-based Sandals.

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