Carlos, the boat involved in the deadly Essequibo River mishap over the weekend, was not certified and permitted to operate on the Parika/Bartica Passenger Service.
Making the disclosure this afternoon was the Public Works Minister, Juan Edghill, under whose preview the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) operates.
The minister, in a statement, said that while the Captian of the vessel, Jermin Blackman is in possession of a valid license to operate the vessel, the boat was uncertified and not permitted to operate on the service. Further, he added that even service boats are not allowed to operate during the hours of darkness.
He said that MARAD’s record reflects that the last authorized departure was by the “LADY ZENIELL” – a boat licensed to operate within the system – at 17:10 hrs. The sunset at Bartica was approximately 18:00hrs on Saturday when the incident occurred.
Guyana Standard understands that MARAD has designated 17:00hrs as the latest departure time. However, The Carlos reportedly the Parika Stelling en route to Bartica at approximately 17: 30hrs after MARAD’s monitors concluded work for the day.
The Minister expressed grave concern over the operation of “outside” boats
transporting passengers on the waterways. This event is actively engaging MARAD’s attention.
“We continue to urge the travelling public not to board water taxis/speedboats operating outside of the regulated system and hours of operation. MARAD, as the regulatory authority, also wishes to reiterate that all persons using boats/ water taxis must properly and securely wear lifejackets,” the Minister said.
As the Minister of Public Works with responsibility for transportation, he extended condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of the late Randy Adams and Alvin Leitch, the two passengers whose bodies were recovered earlier today. They were among 11 persons who were onboard.