One year after legs severed… Disabled seaman still awaits court date
One year and six months after his legs were severed in a trawler mishap, seaman Russel Cornelius, is still awaiting a date when his case will be heard in the High Court.
Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, who is representing Cornelius, confirmed yesterday that the matter has been filed in the High Court. Cornelius is seeking $25M in compensation from Noble House Seafoods.
Hughes said that Noble House had lodged $2M in the High Court, but that both lawyer and client had rejected the offer.
Kaieteur News had been earlier informed that the company had offered $5M, which Cornelius, who has four children, had also turned down as being inadequate.
During a meeting last year with a Ministry of Labour official and some of Cornelius’s relatives, Noble House officials had also said that it would offer Cornelius a job, which would have entailed him monitoring the company’s surveillance cameras.
Noble House had also given assurance that Cornelius’s National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions are in order and that he would receive financial assistance from the NIS for his injuries.
Company officials had also promised to provide him with artificial limbs.
Kaieteur News was told that Attorney-at-Law Raphael Trotman is representing the fishing company.
Cornelius, of Grove, East Bank Demerara, had his legs severed at the knees on January 18, when his limbs got entangled in a winch on the ‘World Friend 307’, a trawler that is owned by Noble House Seafoods.
At the time, the vessel was some nine miles out in the Atlantic Ocean.
Fortunately, the trawler captain managed to contact the lighthouse supervisor, who informed the Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard.
The crew of a Coast Guard vessel then brought the injured man to shore, and an ambulance took him to the GPHC in the nick of time.
Trawler captain, Roy Soknanan, and four of his crewmen have all submitted statements about the mishap.
In his statement, Soknanan said that at around 18:30hrs on January 18 last, he gave instructions to pick up the nets.
He stated that as soon as the winch started and stopped, two crew members ran into the wheelhouse and said that “something wrong with Cornelius.”
Soknanan said he left the wheelhouse and saw the mangled Cornelius on the try net winch.
He helped to lift Cornelius into the cabin, where the injured man was placed on a mattress. The trawler captain stated that he then wrapped Cornelius’s legs and put ice on them.
Noble House officials have said that at the time of the mishap, the vessel was contracted to a captain, who had hired Cornelius.