BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – “The painful tragedy of the MV Christena Disaster on August 1, 1970, gave birth to improved ferry and maritime standards that have ensured such an incident has not been repeated,” explained the Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis. He quoted Susan L. Taylor, an American writer who once wrote, ‘In every crisis there is a message. Crises are nature’s way of forcing change …so that something new and better can take its place.
“While in some ways this disaster caused much bitter sorrow and exposed rifts between St Kitts and Nevis in many ways it also demonstrated the capacity of our people to work together to mitigate the immediate situation and to build a better future,” said Prime Minister Harris during the July 31 Special Sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the MV Christena Disaster.
Dr. Harris said that the MV Christena disaster empowered persons by building character, confidence and resilience, as well as developing coping mechanisms to deal with and address “this horror that was beyond our individual and collective comprehension.” He added that the Federation’s strong faith in God and the people’s strength and courage assisted in rebuilding lives and livelihoods, thus propelling St. Kitts and Nevis to a brighter and stronger future.
“It must be noted that the MV Christena Disaster led to significant changes and improvements in maritime safety regulations and protocols. Today we are the beneficiaries of such improvements. These include regular inspection of maritime vessels, limits on a number of passengers, provision of life jackets, and certified and experienced operators and crew,” he said.
He added: “Today, citizens, residents, and visitors can travel between our two islands confidently with the knowledge that safety measures are in place and are being adhered to and that improvements are ongoing.”