Probe into fatal boat accident

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, October 31, 2008 – An investigation will be carried out into the boating accident on the Corentyne River between Guyana and Suriname, that left six people dead a week ago, and government officials say an interim report on the incident should be ready soon.

But the Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Robeson Benn, has stressed that it is clear that the mishap on October 25 occurred as the boat carrying the passengers from Suriname to Guyana was doing so in circumstances in which it was unregulated.
“I would like to remind that these (speedboat) crossings are illegal and there are proper regulated, safe crossings of the Corentyne River provided at Moleson Creek through the Kanawaima Ferry Service,” he said.

There were only two survivors – Sherry Haynes and Leslie Austin – in the accident that occurred as owner and captain Indarjeet ‘Roy’ Ramdass tried to get his passengers back to Guyana. He, along with Ms Haynes’ nephew, Henry Gonsalves, as well as her sister and friend – Sheila Gonsalves and Ena Hope -; Indranie Motieram; and Drupatie Bahagiloo all died.
Mr Austin, who worked with the boat owner, told reporters that it was soon after that that the propeller of the boat’s engine became entangled with a fishing net and the vessel capsized.

Director of Management and Safety at the Maritime Administration Department, Stephen Thomas, has also stressed the importance of proper usage of life-jackets noting that initial investigations found that some persons involved in the accident had not adhered to the correct usage of the vests.
He said the department will be implementing more safety features for all speed boats next year. These include additional buoyancy requirements and other constructional features to improve maritime safety.