explorerOn Wednesday October 19th, two vessels, namely the MV Northern Explorer and MV Campeche begun seismic testing in Belizean waters, only a short distance away from the country’s fragile World Heritage site, despite Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s promise back in May of 2015 that all offshore concessions had expired and none would be renewed.

Although the testing started one day earlier than had been publicly announced, the government of Belize was forced to cease seismic operations the day after it commenced, following an outcry from concerned citizens, national civil society groups and international conservation organizations and their supporters.

Today the Ministry of Economic Development and Petroleum announced that the regional offshore seismic survey has been cancelled. According to the release, the seismic vessel Seabird Northern Explorer departed Belize on October 21, 2016 and this kind of survey will not be taking place in Belizean waters as previously proposed. The release goes on to state that public consultations on the seismic survey, as initially proposed by Oceana and other interested parties, will not be conducted, seeing that the survey has been canceled, and if, in the future, such an opportunity were to arise, the Ministry will continue to ensure that all legal requirements are followed and that the appropriate levels of consultations are held with stakeholders.

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