May 21, 2013 News
The Maritime Administration, commenting, on the Shark rescue effort last week has stated that investigations are being carried out since it has been found that the vessel was operating without a valid certificate of inspection.
Further, MARAD said that before departure the crew members did not inform the Georgetown Lighthouse.
According to MARAD the vessel ‘SHARK’ with four crew members on board departed Georgetown at approximately 11:00 hours on Wednesday, May 15, 2013. It was bound for Port Kaituma, North West District with a load of general cargo.
The statement by MARAD read, “The vessel is owned by Devindra Umraow, but was being operated by Parsaram Persaud.
“At 16:25 hours that Wednesday, the Georgetown Lighthouse received a telephone call from a representative of the operator, stating that it was disabled and taking in lots of water. It was abandoned by the crew as the cargo shifted and some went overboard. The deck was flooded and the vessel took on a dangerous list as it lost positive stability.
“The position of the vessel at that time was given as approximately ten miles off Leguan Island, Essequibo River.
“The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) immediately activated its Search and Rescue System. The Coast Guard was informed and all vessels in the general area were informed about the distress.
“No vessel was in the vicinity, so MARAD dispatched the Pilot Launch Kakabelli. It departed Georgetown at 17:00 hours and proceeded to the area. The crew did a visual and communication search for the Shark until 21:30 hours. However, there was no contact or sighting of the vessel,” MARAD said.
This has since been disputed by the captain of ‘Shark’ who said that they saw the Kakabelli and flashed lights to the vessel. The captain said that there were return signals but that the vessel could not reach them since they were trapped on a sand bank
“Throughout this period, the Lighthouse was broadcasting emergency messages for other vessels to assist in the search. MARAD said that it was also in contact with the Charterer of the Shark, who was very interested in the efforts to locate the vessel,” MARAD reported in the statement.
“At 05:10 hours on Thursday, May 16, the Pilot Launch Thompson departed Georgetown and continued the search for the Shark. It returned to Port at 08:00 hours, to be replaced by the Kakabelli. However, while the Kakabelli was being refueled, the operator of the Shark called to report that it was located on the beach off the Essequibo Coast in the vicinity of Anna Regina.”
“Once the report was confirmed, the Department called off the Search and Rescue exercise and informed all parties accordingly. The vessel has since returned to Georgetown where it has been detained.”
However, the woman who chartered the vessel said that the vessel was never on the Essequibo Coast. She said that the Shark remained on a sand bank all the while until it managed to free itself on Saturday. It then headed straight for Port Georgetown and arrived about 14:00 hours on Saturday.
She was amazed to hear the initial report of engine trouble and dead batteries. She said that the vessel was loaded with goods for the North West.
She said that she checked with Customs and with Maritime Administration before leaving Port Georgetown. She said that the officials never informed her that there was an approaching storm. This storm struck when the vessel was some ten miles north of Leguan in the Atlantic Ocean.
As it relates to the issue of operating without a valid certificate of inspection the woman said that she has been informed that all the documents for the vessel are up to date and if this was the case it would have been detected by the relevant authorities before they left Port Georgetown.
The woman told this publication that the incident was as a result of a storm which the vessel ran into and was not told about before leaving for its North West destination.
“There were high waves and they were close to each other. They swamped the boat and before the water from the first could run off the second would hit. They washed the goods overboard and the captain did he best to keep the vessel afloat.”
When the storm passed, the boat drifted onto a sand bank where it remained until yesterday morning. In the height of the storm the Captain sent out a distress signal that caused the Maritime Administration to send its coast guard vessel, Kakabelli, in search of the Shark.
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