It has been almost three weeks since the Guyana -registered Motor Tanker, Swift Dolphin capsized at the mouth of the
Corentyne River, yet the vessel’s captain Gianan Rickiram and crew member, Patrick Constantine remain lost at sea.
The men went missing after the vessel overturned on August 12.
The Guyana -registered cargo vessel was transporting a four member crew, as it was proceeding from Paramaribo, Suriname to Georgetown.
Two persons survived the wreckage. The survivors have since been identified as Leon Augustus Persaud and Anthony Sukhdeo.
Within the past weeks, a combined rescue team, consisting of workers from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and Coast Guard, conducted a search in an effort to recover the missing men, who are feared dead.
It is believed that the bodies of the men are trapped in the overturned vessel, approximately 97 feet below sea level.
Officials have since reported that there has been a ‘lull’ in the search but the relatives of the missing captain are seeking the intervention of the government to bring an end to the issue.
The authorities are yet to determine the cause of the incident. Last week, one of the survivors (Persaud) spoke about the incident. He reported that a large wave hit the vessel causing it to overturn. However, Sukhdeo, the missing captain’s son is refuting that claim.
Sukhdeo of Lot 71, Herstelling Squatting area said that a few hours before the incident his father was instructed to allow another seaman to steer the vessel.
“We never know this man but the owner for the vessel brought him and said that he has the experience to captain the vessel… At about 2:00 that morning, my father left him behind the wheel and went below deck to rest. All we feel like the boat topple…”
Sukhdeo said that his father returned to the engine room and signaled to him that the boat might be in trouble.
The man said that his father ran hurriedly downstairs to alert the sleeping sailors but the boat overturned within “the blink of an eye.”
“This thing happen so quick I didn’t have time to blink, but one thing I know for sure is that no wave or storm aint hit that boat, it is the man that they recommend to captain the vessel. He probably never steer a vessel like that before…”
The father of three noted that he also lost all his earnings at sea.
“We working with this company for the past six months and all we had aboard, money and everything lost. All we labour, documents and everything gone down the drain.”
He said that efforts made to contact the owner of the vessel have since proven futile.
“I can’t work for now and at least if we could get on to the owner maybe we could some sort of assistance.”
Given her current health issue, the wife of the missing captain, Latchmin Rickiram noted her need for closure in the situation.
Mrs. Rickiram, who suffers from hypertension, said that she has not been well for the past few weeks.
The woman said that she was advised to seek legal advice on the issue but noted her core desire is to put her husband to rest. The woman said that at this point she is no longer hopeful that her husband might still be alive.
“All I want know is if the Government, MARAD or somebody could do something to assist in pulling up the boat. At least I would be able to acquire some of my husband’s remains.”
Mrs. Rickiram noted that her husband spent thirty -nine years at sea, working
to provide his family. The couple, who were married over thirty- years ago, share four children.
“It is difficult to just forget about it, because that’s my husband and we ain’t seeing no progress in the investigation.”
Other family members also expressed their dissatisfaction at the way the investigations are being conducted.
“We really can’t understand what’s happening; it’s nearly three weeks since these two people trapped in the boat,” another of the man’s relatives said.
Meanwhile, Officials of MARAD have noted that investigations into the matter are still ongoing.
Speaking with this newspaper yesterday, Director of Maritime Safety, Captain Stephen Thomas noted that while there has been break in the search, the administration has not officially closed the investigations. He said that the team is still on the look-out for any sign, which may lead to recovery of the missing sailors.
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