Failure to observe maritime laws caused deadly Guyana boating accident

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday December 31, 2012 – Guyana authorities say the boating accident that resulted in the deaths of six people earlier this month was caused “by one or both captains of the vessels” failing to observe the international regulation for preventing collision at sea.

The Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) of the Transport and Harbours Department of the Ministry of Public Works said the preliminary investigation into the accident indicated that on the day of the accident, both vessels were travelling close to the left bank of the Pomeroon river on a reciprocal or nearly reciprocal course when they collided.

“The MARAD investigation has concluded that the collision was caused by one or both captains of the vessels failing to observe the international regulation for preventing collision at sea and the Guyana shipping act of 1998 Sect 225 (1), which states: “All owners and masters of Guyana ships shall obey the collision regulations and shall not carry or exhibit any other lights or use any other fog signals than such as are prescribed by those regulations.”

MARAD said that while it was raining at the time of the collision, this did not obscure the captains’ visibility.

It said that the investigation revealed that there were a number of breaches found to be in violation of the Collision Regulations.

“These include the failure to have a proper look out at all times; the failure to proceed at a safe speed so as to take proper and effective action to avoid collision;  failing to alter the vessel’s course to starboard and failing to render assistance to operator and passengers.”

MARAD said it has advised the Commander ‘G’ Division to commence “instituting certain charges in keeping with the requisite regulations relative to this incident”.

The authorities said that Harrinarine Bhagwandin, the captain of one of the two boats involved in the accident, was among the six people killed. Three members of a family were also reported killed.

Police said the other vessel was owned by the Region Two administration and its chairman, Parmanand Persaud, who was in one of the boats, told reporters then he was shocked at the incident.

“I cannot believe what just happened in the Pomeroon River,” he said, adding that he and the others on the Region Two boat had been saved by God. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)