MARAD advises that charges be brought over Pomeroon River tragedy

The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) today said that the December 18 Pomeroon River boat accident that claimed six lives was caused by one or both of the captains failing to observe international regulations and it disclosed that it has advised the `G’ Division police to proceed with charges.

In a press release dated December 24 but only disseminated today, MARAD also listed a series of breaches of the collision regulations.

The MARAD statement came 11 days after the tragedy and following repeated attempts by Stabroek News to elicit a comment from it.

Boat captain Harrinarine Bhagwandin and his nephew Vincent Singh, 40, both of Abrams Creek; Velda Rodrigues, 50, and her son Shawn Rodrigues, 14, also of Abrams Creek; and Rajkumar, 14, and his sister, Amerita Singh, 10, of Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast, died after the boat they were travelling in collided with another boat, owned by the regional administration, in the Pomeroon River. There was only one survivor of Bhagwandin’s boat and it has been suggested that some of the victims could have been saved if the passengers in the region’s boat had stopped and rendered assistance after the collision. The region’s boat had around 16 people including the Chairman of the region and employees of the One Laptop per Family Programme.

MARAD’s statement said:

“Firstly, 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 (similar) 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).

“Secondly, our investigation revealed that at the time of the collision it was raining but that did not obscure the Captains’ visibility.

“There were a number of breaches which were found to be in violation of the Collision Regulations such as:

·         Rule 5 – Failing to maintain a proper look out at all times.

·         Rule 6 – Proceeding at a safe speed so as to take proper and

effective action to avoid collision.

·         Rule 14 – Failing to alter the vessel’s course to starboard

·         Failing to render assistance to operator and passengers.

“Prior to this incident, Officials from the Maritime Administration Department paid visits and held awareness seminars with operators and passengers in Pomeroon, conducted boat inspections, and issued licences to operators.

“The Administration also distributed life jackets to some residents in Charity and Moruca areas.

“Periodic visits have been made by representatives from MARAD who are currently seeking to upgrade those vessels which transport passengers in that Region and to hold training sessions for boat operators.

“Although MARAD officials encountered some resistance from residents residing in the Pomeroon areas, we remain committed to our responsibility of ensuring safe operational practices as we strive to minimize maritime accidents on our waterways.

“By way of letter dated December 20, 2012, MARAD has advised the Commander ‘G’ Division to commence instituting certain charges in keeping with the requisite regulations relative to this incident.

“Finally, there is an ongoing effort to make boat operators more aware of safety requirements and to improve on the quality of their services to the travelling public.”

Only one of the captains is alive and he is likely to face charges including failing to render assistance to the other boat operator and passengers.  After the collision, the region’s boat left the scene and returned after letting its passengers off some distance away. The one survivor, a boy, was rescued by relatives of the deceased. Residents of the region were incensed that the region’s boat left the scene immediately after the collision without providing help.

 

Latest in Local News

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.

Students of Guyana and Suriname who participated in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition, held yesterday at NCERD.

Guyana overall w-i-n-n-e-r in first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee

Guyana’s students yesterday emerged the overall winners in the first Inter-Guianas Spelling Bee Competition. The Spelling Bee brought together students of Guyana and Suriname, from ages 10 to 14, in a concept of solidarity dubbed “Guianame.” The participants were drawn from several regions in Guyana and from the AlphaMax Academy, which has been the

Director of the Maternal and Child Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Earthaneisa Hamilton.

Ministry ups monitoring of pregnant women with Zika-like symptoms

While there have been no reported cases of pregnant women with the Zika virus, the Ministry of Public Health has decided to classify those who display Zika-like symptoms as being high-risk pregnancies, ensuring that they will be monitored more closely.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: