Maritime probe of Pomeroon crash still ongoing

The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) has said that its investigation into last month’s fatal boat accident near Siriki, in the Pomeroon River, has not been completed.

A MARAD official told Stabroek News that the agency previously ascertained that a number of rules from the Guyana Shipping Act of 1998 were broken by both boat captains in the December 18, 2012 accident and as a result charges relating to these breaches were recommended to the authorities.

Boat captain Harrinarine Bhagwandin and his nephew Vincent Singh, 40, both of Abrams Creek; Velda Rodriguez, 50, and her son Shawn Rodriguez, 14, also of Abrams Creek; and Rajkumar, 14, and his sister, Amerita Singh, 10, of Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast, died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision, which occurred when the boat they were travelling in collided with another boat, owned by the regional administration, in the Pomeroon River.

When asked if the boat captain of the regional boat will face charges relating to the death of the six victims, the source said further inquiries are still to be done and was unable to comment on the issue. It was said that a field officer was sent to the Pomeroon location to take a number of statements from eyewitnesses and visit the crash site to complete MARAD’s full preliminary investigation, which may see more charges.

A source knowledgeable about maritime regulations told this newspaper on Monday that boats sometimes travel at a speed of 20 to 30 miles per hour on the Pomeroon River, which is narrow, and there are no horsepower restrictions.

When asked about the claim, the official made reference to the licensing of boat operators, who are registered with the engine and speed on the document.

The source added that if the captains are caught with different engine types and horsepower from what is shown on their licence, they would then be deemed as unauthorised.

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