Deadly boat explosion: Victims were pumping fuel without owner’s permission


Three men are dead following an explosion on Saturday afternoon that resulted in a fire aboard the motor vessel ‘Canada Club’, that was docked at a wharf at Friendship, on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).

Dead are: 60-year-old Seepersaud Persaud, who lived at Beehive, Essequibo and was the boat’s captain; Mark Mangal and, 29-year-old Damion Dias, a sailor, of Sarah Johanna, EBD.

According to police reports, the Canada Club vessel delivered a shipment of motor gasoline (mogas) diesel and gasoline fuel to Guyoil at Adventure on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam) on Friday.

After making the delivery, the boat returned to the wharf at Friendship on Saturday, at about 10:30 hrs. Police reported that at the time, no maintenance works were being conducted on the said vessel.

About 16:40hrs on Saturday afternoon, however, a loud explosion was heard coming from the direction of the vessel. Thereafter, it was reported that smoke and fire was seen emanating from the bow of the vessel.

The Diamond Fire Service was called to the scene and managed to completely extinguish the fire. When the fire was extinguished, police reported that the vessel was canvassed and it was observed that the bodies of the three males were lying motionless on the eastern side of the deck.

The three men were taken to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre, on the EBD, where they were pronounced dead. Subsequently, the bodies were taken to the Lyken Funeral Parlour awaiting post mortem examinations.

Further enquiries by officers uncovered that the explosion came from the engine room and that there was a hose that was connected to a fuel pump that appeared partially burnt out. It was also observed that the remains of a yellow plastic bottle was found near the hose.

Further checks revealed that there are control valves in the vicinity of the fuel tank and the only valve which was found to be open was the gasoline tank valve. Police said that enquiries from the owner of the vessel, businessman Sewsankar (only name given) disclosed that all the valves should have been closed and the hose must only be connected to the fuel pump when discharging fuel.

After receiving this information, checks were made in the boat captain’s motorcar bearing the number #PTT 2965 which revealed five six-gallon bottles and one five-gallon bottle with suspected gasoline which were found in the trunk of the said motorcar.

Samples were taken of the suspected fuel and the bottles were lodged at the Grove Police Station pending further investigations.

According to reports, it appeared as though the men who are now deceased were pumping gasoline from the sediment or reserve of the fuel tank.

Investigations are ongoing.

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