Tugs in Jamaica find safe harbour from Hurricane Beryl in mangroves

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

As Caribbean islands continue to wake up to the devastation caused by Hurricane Beryl, Jamaican boat captain Thomas Kitson showed the crucial role of mangroves in tackling climate disasters as he and his team sheltered their tugboats in cove bordered by mangroves. 

Kitson shared photos to Twitter on Wednesday, as Beryl, which wavered between Category 4 and Category 5 in strength, brought strong winds, showers and rough seas to Jamaica.

“To prepare for Hurricane Beryl, our fleet of Tugboats made our way to Mosquito Cove, Hanover yesterday. Beached them, tied them into the Mangroves & moored alongside each other. Myself & the team, will be waiting it out here.”

Kitson later updated his followers, showing videos as the storm passed near the boats. 

Kitson explained that it was necessary to shelter in this way as opposed to drydocking the vessels.

Many commented on how his videos have highlighted the importance of mangroves as vital climate tools in protecting coastlines and as carbon sinks. 

“Thank you for showing us. Mangroves are invaluable, and glad tugs & crew will be safe,” said one person.

“Benefits of mangroves on display. *especially* after this, I don’t want to hear no more long argument of ppl fighting to preserve our mangroves or them being destroyed to build more hotels,” said another. 

“See why the preservation of mangroves is important and not tearing them down to build hotels and resorts,” said another.

“See this answer wish persons would take the importance of mangroves and coral reefs more seriously,” said another follower. 

According to WWF, mangroves are powerful tools in capturing carbon, a known greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, storing 7.5–10 times more carbon per acre (3–4 times more per hectare) than tropical forests, and their loss contributes to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.

Over 21 gigatons of carbon are held by mangroves worldwide, and 87% of that is in the soil beneath the mangroves’ roots.

Restoring recently lost mangrove forests (1.6 million acres) could capture an additional 1 gigaton of carbon.

Mangroves are also critical nursery habitats for  many species of crabs, fish and other wildlife, help to prevent erosion and stabilise coastlines.