Dec 31, 2012 News
Pomeroon boat tragedy…
The Captain of the Regional Administration vessel that was involved in the Pomeroon tragedy has been suspended from operating any vessel, a police official said yesterday.
The Captain is at the centre of the investigation, following allegations that he left the scene of the collision without attempting to assist the victims.
It is unclear whether the probe has implicated anyone else, given that there were senior regional officials on the vessel at the time.
The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has recommended criminal charges and a preliminary investigation found failure to render assistance to the victims as one of several breaches of maritime regulations that occurred during and after the accident.
Criminal charges could be issued today.
The MARAD investigation revealed that the collision occurred after “one or both captains” failed to observe the international regulation for preventing collision at sea and the Guyana Shipping Act of 1998 Sect 225 (1).
The probe also found that a number of breaches had occurred in the Collision Regulations. They included failing to maintain a proper look out at all times; failing to proceed at a safe speed so as to take proper and effective action to avoid collision; failing to alter the vessel’s course to starboard and failing to render assistance to operator and passengers.
Both the captain of the Region Two vessel and Regional Chairman Parmanand Persaud refuted allegations that the vessel left the scene without attempting to rescue the victims.
The Ministry of Public Works release stated that a preliminary investigation was conducted immediately “into this most unfortunate accident and the facts are that on the day of the accident, both vessels were travelling close to the left bank of the river on a reciprocal or nearly reciprocal course when they collided.”
The collision was caused by one or both Captains of the vessels having failed to observe the international regulation for preventing collision at sea and the Guyana shipping act of 1998 Sect 225 (1).
The probe revealed that at the time of the collision it was raining but that did not obscure the Captains’ visibility.
The Region Two vessel and a smaller boat carrying the captain and six passengers collided in the Pomeroon during a downpour.
Boat captain Harrynarine Bhagwandeen and passengers Velda Rodrigues, 50; Shawn Anthony, 14; Rajkumar Singh, 14 and his sister Amerieta Singh, 10; and Vincent Singh, 42 were all killed.
A child, Eli Orlando, was the lone survivor.
Relatives of the victims have accused the captain of the vessel owned by the Region Two Administration of failing to render aid to the victims.
But the captain and Mr. Parmanand Persaud told Kaieteur News that the boat operator discharged his passengers and tried to help the victims. However, they claimed that by then, two other vessels had gone to the rescue.
The captain also claimed that Bhagwandeen swerved into his path and should have been travelling on the other side of the river.
A passenger from the Region Two vessel had told Kaieteur News that she heard Regional Chairman, Parmanand Persaud, shout: “Captain look out, there’s a boat coming!” seconds before the two boats collided.
The passenger said that the captain swerved and Bhagwandeen’s boat struck the side of the vessel she was in.
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