The All Tobago Fisherfolk Association (ATFA) wants the Mauritanian boat to be removed from the shore at Clark’s Bay, Belle Garden.
They believe the vessel poses a serious health risk to the community. It was discovered off the coast of the village with 14 dead bodies and other skeletal remains on board on May 28.
At a news conference on Wednesday at Petit Trou Beach, Lambeau, ATFA president Curtis Douglas said villagers are concerned about the threat of possible disease.
“It is said that that boat is called a coffin, so the people of Belle Garden are asking, ‘Why is it that the authorities bring that coffin and leave it here?’
“They could have explained to the public or the people of Tobago if there was any infection in the remains. Was there Ebola? Was there SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)? Is it contagious?
“So right now the people of Belle Garden are clearly worried about their health.”
Douglas said villagers are very concerned about the tarpaulin that was used to cover the boat.
“The tarpaulin is now 85 per cent in the vessel and with all of the rain that is falling, the water is now circulating in the vessel among the dead remains.”
He added there are mangroves in the area around the boat,
“So there is the high potential of mosquito infestation in there, creating a next hazard.”
Douglas said if the boat cannot be moved immediately, the authorities should capsize and secure it properly so that water cannot accumulate in it and enable mosquitoes to breed.
“That is common sense.”
He also suggested the boat could be disposed of at the dump, a short distance away.