Suspicions were raised about the story provided by Vincent Dazzel, the only known survivor of the fishing mishap that occurred offshore on February 19, but the captain of the boat that rescued Dazzel has corroborated the survivor’s story.
Captain Budeshwar Persaud led the crew that was fishing near the Mahaica River; this crew saw when the Noble House trawler toppled and sank on the fateful Saturday.
“(The Noble House trawler) go down and we didn’t see it back.
“So I tell my guys leh we go see if we could save the guys on the trawler,” Persaud said in a statement included in the report compiled by the Board of Inquiry investigating the incident.
This report was recently presented to the Ministry of Public Works.
Three fishermen – Captain Harold Anthony Damon and his crew members Ronald Burton and Winston Sam – went missing after the Noble House Seafoods vessel capsized.
Dazzel survived and was rescued within an hour of the incident.
According to the report, the World Friend 307 Nobel House vessel operated by the four fishermen, left the company’s wharf on February 13, 2022 and according to information from the company’s monitoring system, the vessel stopped moving on February 19 and disappeared in a position approximately 15 miles from the Mahaica river mouth.
Based on Dazzel’s accounts, as detailed in the report, Captain Harold alerted the crew at around 05:50 hrs on February 19 that the vessel was sinking. The team made contact with Noble House and attempted to get to shore; precautionary measures (donning of life jackets and releasing the life raft) were taken.
The vessel, however, capsized and Dazzel said he floated for about 45 minutes before he was rescued by the other vessel.
A three-hour search did not find the fishermen and Dazzel was brought to shore where he started making reports and seeking medical attention.
Persaud corroborated these reports, stating that his vessel was located about a half-mile away from the sinking vessel.
“…We saw someone floating on it [a life raft] and he had on a life jacket and we collect him.
“We ask him how many more people on the trawler. He tell we three more ah them….then we search around for an hour in the same area,” Persaud said further.
Unable to find the others, Persaud’s crew eventually left and took Dazzel to shore. The captain confirmed that he gave Dazzel clothes, food and money.
Onshore, Dazzle started to inform the relevant authorities of what transpired offshore.
The Board of Inquiry has, in part, faulted Noble House seafoods and recommended that the relevant authorities tighten monitoring efforts and safety guidelines.
Meanwhile, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill said the government is currently seeking legal advice to determine whether the company can be penalised for its lapses.