Passenger recounts events leading to boat mishap in Essequibo River
By Leroy Smith
A passenger on a boat in distress in the Essequibo River earlier this week is calling for boat operators to be better trained.
Speaking with the News Room on condition of anonymity, the passenger expressed the view that the captain of the boat and his assistant panicked when they realized that water was entering the boat.
According to him, they knew water was seeping into the boat but did not inform the passengers, noting that they also failed to take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of the passengers. This was only done after the passengers protested, the man said.
He pointed out that there were children and women who were on board. According to the passenger the time of distress was approximately 10:00 hrs and there was no attempt by the captain or his assistant to make contact with external sources for help.
They requested on several occasions, for the captain to take the boat to shore or ground it on a nearby sandbank, but the captain was more interested in finding out where the leak on the boat was.
He then subsequently stopped the boat, turned off the engine and proceeded to instruct his assistant to look for the leak and attempt to stop same.
The passenger who is also a businessman expressed the view that the Maritime administration (MARAD) and the other relevant authorities step in almost immediately and look into the issue of the capabilities of boat operators in the time of distress.
On Thursday and Friday, repeated efforts to make contact with the MARAD for a comment on the investigation proved futile.