Fisherman drowns looting grounded boat

– over $20M in Banks DIH cargo stolen

West Demerara residents looted the grounded vessel Davie 11 on Sunday night and an Uitvlugt fisherman drowned as he moved between the vessel and the seawall.

Police are investigating the death of Franklyn Andries, 36, of Uitvlugt, West Coast Demerara (WCD). According to reports, he was among a large group of persons, who, under the cover of darkness looted the beverage-laden Davie 11. According to a police source, Andries was intoxicated when he fell into the water.  The Davie 11 was contracted by beverage giant, Banks DIH to transport its products to the company’s outlet at Airy Hall, Essequibo Coast. After it sprang leaks as it departed the wharf on Saturday night, it limped to the shore and was grounded on the Stewartville, WCD foreshore later that night.

Franklyn Andries

Sales and Marketing Executive at Banks Carlton Joao told reporters yesterday that investigations are ongoing. He said the cargo was worth in excess of $20 million, but the company’s responsibilities ended when the cargo was signed over to the vessel’s operators at the wharf and would have resumed when the cargo was delivered at Airy Hall. The cargo was not delivered, he pointed out. All of the cargo was looted.  Joao said that the incident would have no effect on the company’s Essequibo operations pointing out that Banks is a large company.

Persons at the scene yesterday were reluctant to speak on Andries’ death and one woman said he was “pushed”  into the water. This newspaper was told that Andries was among dozens of persons who clambered onboard the Davie 11 and grabbed soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, bottled water, biscuits and other Banks DIH products in  the dark hours of Sunday night and Monday morning.  Some persons consumed alcoholic beverages even as they looted and Andries was among them, this newspaper was told. According to a police source, he was heading to the vessel when he fell and drowned. It was not clear how his body was recovered, but early yesterday morning some time after six, his relatives were contacted.

His father, Tyrone Andries told Stabroek News that he received a call and was told that his son’s body was at the seawall and they have to go and identify it. The body had been taken to the Leonora Diagnostic Centre where relatives identified it. Tyrone said that there were no marks on the body but noted that “all his mouth fraff and [there was] blood at his mouth”. Relatives said they did not know what had happened. Andries lived alone. He was the fourth of six children. An autopsy is expected to be done on Wednesday.

Meantime, up to late yesterday morning, persons were seen on the boat taking anything they could find. A group of young men siphoned off fuel from its tanks. Some persons even went in cars and were seen packing beverages into them. “They nah gon done til the boat done,” one woman observed. A resident, who lives close to the seawall recounted that dozens of persons had gone in the night to the boat. “They come and they tek and tek and tek”.

Persons on board the still grounded and now looted Davie 11 at the Stewartville foreshore yesterday.

One of the crewmembers had told Stabroek News on Sunday that the Davie 11 developed two leaks as it left the Banks wharf on Saturday night and they worked to patch these but were only able to patch one. They pumped out water as it streamed it but when they wanted to pump out the boat for the second time the pump did not start, Dexroy Murray said. The captain and three crewmembers were onboard.

As water poured into the vessel, they manoeuvred close to the shore and managed to reach the Stewartville foreshore where the vessel was secured to the shore. There were no injuries but it was a harrowing experience on a dark night with high waves, Murray had recounted.

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