Section of Meadow Bank wharf collapses during fish off-loading
Panic filled the air yesterday morning when a section of the Fishermen’s wharf at Meadow Bank, Greater Georgetown, collapsed causing several persons to scramble for safety and thousands of pounds of fish to fall into the muddy water. There were no reports of injuries.
Reports are that around 07:30 hrs, a businessman went to purchase fish so he could retail to his customers. While the fish was being off-loaded from the boat and taken to a waiting truck, a section of the wharf caved-in under the weight.
It was estimated that over 4,000 pounds of fish fell through the opening, but the businessman otherwise managed to save a significant amount. However, he still suffered losses since the fish had to be sold at a reduced price.
When Kaieteur News arrived at the scene, fishermen were trying to repair the damage, but were experiencing difficulty in doing so.
One fisherman was also trying to transport a speedboat engine from the wharf to a parked truck nearby, but one of the wooden boards under his feet broke and the man fell halfway through the space.
“Things like this happen every day and we are always complaining that this wharf needs to be repaired, but nothing seems to be happening. So far this is the worst, and the wharf finally collapsed. It could have cost some of us our lives! We have no choice but to work with this dilapidated wharf and have been appealing to the Ministry for assistance in building a proper wharf, but to no avail,” one fisherman said.
According to an employee at the wharf, representation was made on numerous occasions to the Ministry of Agriculture’s Fisheries Department and previous Agriculture Minister, Robert Persaud, for assistance in constructing a safer wharf.
“We average it to be around $300,000 to get a good wharf here, but we can’t do it alone, and it is the fishermen here who keep trying to do things. But we really are desperate for the Ministry’s help, because this is our livelihood,” the employee stated.
More fishermen explained that while fishing is not an “easy” business it is all they know to do.
“All we want is the wharf to be fixed so that such incidents would not happen again. This is dangerous and the wood used here is badly damaged. We want the Ministry to intervene because fishing and selling these fish gives us our daily bread.” (Kristen Macklingam)