The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) today said that the crew of a boat which capsized in the Essequibo River on Sunday with 17 passengers aboard had been suspended while an investigation of the incident is done.
In a statement today, MARAD noted that all 17 persons aboard `YAFFA G’ survived because they were wearing life-jackets. It urged that all river commuters wear life-jackets.
The statement from MARAD was quite unusual as it had not been issuing any on a series of accidents that have occurred in Guyana’s rivers, some fatal. This was pointed out in a news item in the Sunday Stabroek of June 19, 2011 headlined `Authorities silent on burgeoning speedboat accidents’. The report had pointed out also that there had been no disclosures from MARAD on probes into any of these accidents.
Passengers on board the `YAFFA G’ narrated hair-raising tales to Stabroek News about their travails after the boat began to take on water and eventually capsized.
The release issued today follows:
“On July 24, 2011 at approximately 15:00 hours, a small passenger boat, “YAFFA G”, capsized in the Essequibo River just about mid-stream between Parika and Leguan Island. It was proceeding from Supenaam, Essequibo River to Parika, East Bank Essequibo.
“On board were seventeen adult passengers, two children and two crewmembers. They were all wearing their lifejackets and they were all subsequently rescued by another small passenger boat.
“This boat was compliant with the constructional requirements so it remained afloat even though capsized.
“The Department is investigating the cause of this incident. However, until this process has been completed, the crew has been suspended from operating while the vessel is being examined thoroughly and rigorously.
“It is important to note that all persons survived this incident because they were all wearing lifejackets, so the Maritime Administration Department would like to take this opportunity to remind all persons travelling on these and other similar boats to stay safe and wear life jackets when on board.”