Relatives still awaiting word from company
Prittipaul Singh Investment Inc. is yet to make contact with relatives of the survivors of the deadly trawler explosion.
According to reports from relatives, company officials, who were scheduled to make a public statement on Wednesday, had not contacted them since the report on the findings were made public.
A relative of Orlon Munroe (the seaman who succumbed from burn injuries when the trawler exploded) said that the family went to the company, but was unable to speak with any of the requisite persons.
The company officials had initially stated that the affected persons would have been compensated once the report was completed.
Efforts over the weekend to contact a company representative proved futile.
While the seafood entity said that they were complying with several of the recommendations of the trawler report which blasted them for poor safety practices, a representative said they were disputing certain sections of the report.
Prittipaul Singh Investments were expected to make a public statement on Wednesday last, but failed to do so.
Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud has hinted that a file was being prepared and is expected to be forwarded to the Attorney General’s Chambers to determine if any criminal charges would be brought against the seafood company.
Persaud said that he could not say offhand if anyone would be held accountable, adding that the report is being studied by the Agriculture Ministry Fisheries Department. One thing the Minister was adamant about is that trawlers found breaching the Ministry’s codes will not have its licenses renewed.
“Trawler owners must not look at money…. they must fight to ensure safety,” he said.
Almost one week ago the Board of Inquiry which was ordered to do an investigation into the explosion found that the fire was caused by a faulty alternator which was exposed to a sparking wire.
The report stated that had the alternator been carefully checked, serviced, repaired or replaced with a proper functioning one, this casualty might not have occurred.
The report further revealed that the vessel only had one small lifeboat without paddles or oars, and there was no bailer.
The Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries Department in a press release said that it was very concerned about the findings of the preliminary report. The release stated that the findings would be its main topic at the next meeting with the Fisheries Advisory Committee, with a view to ensuring that the recommendations made by the report will be adhered across the board by all fishing vessels, especially trawlers.
It also expected that all Occupational Safety and Health systems are in place and that the crewmembers of vessels are able to work in a safe environment.
Furthermore, the release said that the Ministry’s Fisheries Department will be collaborating with the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) to ensure that all vessels will have the necessary requirements in place and that the crewmembers are capable of operating sea vessels.
The continued licenses of trawlers will be linked to the recommendations and the most stringent examination of vessels and related requirements will be done to ensure that such irregularities and deficiencies are rectified before licenses are issued.
In a detailed report, it was explained that the vessel, Captain Lloyd 97, was owned and operated by PSI, and had been taken on a test run on June 18, last, which lasted about 45 minutes.
The test run was done by mechanic, Ray Griffith, who was not certified to do so.
According to the report, while at sea it was Elvis Todd, who was also injured in the fire, who said that Orlon Munroe was the person who observed that the alternator had an exposed wire. Munroe, in turn, reported it to the captain.
The report states that it was Munroe who attended to the problem.
It was recommended in the report that the company should urgently seek to develop a Quality Management System and it is imperative that the author of this management system be qualified and experienced consultant with relevant nautical knowledge and competence.
Further, the report recommended that a company’s occupational health and safety manual must be kept on vessels.
The report recommended that the owner of the vessel must seek to appoint persons who have the relevant skills and qualifications.
Further, it was suggested that the company should have a mechanic onboard, not necessarily as a crewmember, but as a utility man.