Cargo ship crash leaves supermarkets and shoppers up a creek

A five-day delay in a cargo shipment at the end of August has left wholesalers and supermarket owners counting thousands of dollars in losses after having to discard a large amount of their produce and vegetables.

The Tropical Shipping cargo ship ran aground in a British Virgin Island marine part on the night of August 28. The ship, which was originally from Miami, stopped off in Tortola on route to St. Maarten, where it ran aground in a national marine park and the most popular dive site in the British Virgin Islands, the Wreck of the RMS Rhone.

Included in the cargo was goods belonging to the up-market The Epicurean and Island Provisions Limited in St. John’s.

Both companies operate supermarkets and were forced to operate with limited stock for several days but now have returned to normal operations.

Epicurean’s general manager Richard Buoni said his four Tropical Shipping containers were transferred to another ship that arrived in Antigua on Monday, a week behind schedule.

The containers were supposed to arrive on Monday, August 29, but eventually arrived on Monday, September 5, forcing the retailers to discard many crates of food, including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mushrooms, onions, leafy vegetables, which were all condemned.

Buoni said they were still calculating their losses but they estimated that it would be in the range of thousands of dollars.

At Island Provision, chief operations officer Everton Michael said the losses were constantly being revised because produce items which were thought to be good are turning bad very quickly on the shelves.


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