Quick action might have been responsible for saving the life of a crew member aboard a vessel towing another which sank at the mouth of the Demerara River.
According to a report from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD), at approximately 22:30 hours on Monday October 27, 2014, a loaded barge with the name DAR ‘B’ while being towed by a tug, name given as ‘KYLE’, sank in the Demerara River.
Reports are that the barge was on one of its regular voyages from Teperu Quarry in the Essequibo River, towards its discharge berth in Kingston, Georgetown.
DAR ‘B’, which is owned by BK Marine, was reported to have 2,000 tons of aggregate on board at the time of the incident. There were five crew members on board the tug and reports suggest one of the crew members fell overboard. The crew member it was revealed was however wearing a life jacket at the time. Nevertheless, desperate efforts were made to rescue the crew member, which perhaps was instrumental in ensuring that there were no causalities associated with the incident.
Officials of MARAD were made aware of the development and were swiftly in transit to the location.
This publication however understands that prior to the arrival of MARAD officials to secure the area, an outbound ship came into contact with the stone from the sunken barge. Consequently the ship remained stuck in that position for about one hour but was able to refloat as the tide began flooding.
Even as officers from MARAD sought to locate and mark the exact position of the sunken barge, navigation in the area was temporarily suspended. However, the navigation service has since resumed with vessel traffic control measures being put in place.
This, according to MARAD, was slated to be enhanced during the course of yesterday as more buoys were to be placed during the day to aid mariners to safely navigate in the area.
And as plans are streamlined to undertake salvage operations, MARAD said that moves will be made to launch an investigation into the mishap.
Meanwhile in a brief conversation with this newspaper, Brian Tiwari, owner of the sunken barge, confirmed that efforts are underway to salvage the vessel. He did not provide a figure of estimated losses.
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