Public Works Minister with responsibility for Transportation, Bishop Juan Edghill, says safety on the roads, waterways, and airspace must be adhered to as he extended his “deepest sympathy” to the family, friends and loved ones of two people who lost their lives during a boat mishap in the Essequibo River over the last weekend.
Edghill said that last Saturday night officers from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) received reports about a boat mishap in the Essequibo River.
“We are informed, by our investigation that the small open boat “CARLOS”, under the command of one Jermain Blackman ran into the Rattlesnake Rock in the Essequibo River. In addition to the captain, there were 11 other persons on board, including the bowman. Most of the persons on board were reportedly not wearing lifejackets, even though it is reported that there were several on board,” Edghill said.
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He said the investigation so far, has shown that after the Carlos hit the rock, it suffered extensive damage and started sinking “some of the occupants were thrown into the water while others exited the ill-fated boat and tried swimming to the shore.
“Most of the occupants were rescued by other boats, but two persons were unaccounted for,” he said, adding that the two bodies were recovered on Monday.
Juan Edghill said that while Blackman is in possession of a valid license to operate such a boat, “the boat was uncertified and not permitted to operate on the Parika – Bartica passenger service.
“Further, boats on this service are not allowed to operate during the hours of darkness,” he said, adding that MARAD’s record reflects that the last authorized departure was by the “LADY ZENIELL” – a boat licensed to operate within the system.
He said that the investigation involving the Guyana Police Force and the River Navigation Officer is continuing, telling service providers they “must follow the rules and be in full compliance at all times”.
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