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Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha on Monday met with relatives of the three missing fishermen, at his Regent Street office.
The men were reported missing after the trawler they were operating on capsized Saturday morning, some 18 miles off the Mahaicony Coast.
Minister Mustapha told the relatives he remains hopeful that the men were able to activate their skills as experienced fishermen and survived. He said the incident has attracted the attention of His Excellency,Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, and that a committee has since been set up to investigate the matter.
He said too that government will work with them to ensure they have full disclosure of the findings of the probe, noting that they could rest assured of government’s full support. Missing are the vessel’s Captain, Harold Anthony Damon, 45; Ronald Burton, 78; and Winston Sam, 46.
The missing men are all attached to Noble House Seafoods and are residents of Agricola on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD).
The lone survivor who made it back to shore after being rescued by a passing boat reportedly related to police and other authorities that around 06:00h Saturday he was asked by Damon to inspect an apparent leak at the back of the trawler. According to the fisherman whose name has not been ascertained recalled seeing water filling up the boat and even the engine room had started had started to take in water.
At this point the survivor said he and Damon made contact with Noble House, but were not able to complete the call when the boat began to sink. He said all four of them jumped out of the vessel. The survivor said he was rescued by a passing boat, but he could not say what happened to his crew members.
In a press statement Sunday night the Public Works Ministry said it has launched an investigation. The ministry said an independent panel was established comprising representatives of the Ministry of Public Works, MARAD, GDF Coast Guard, the GPF Marine Unit, and the Transport and Harbours Department. “We are very concerned, and share the anxiety and pain of the family members and colleagues of the missing men. The Search and Rescue Operation Center was immediately activated upon notification of this incident. Vessels and personnel, including divers have been deployed. The Ministry wishes to assure all concerned that all available resources of the state to aid in this search and rescue exercise will be fully utilised. The private sector including private fishing vessels, are also engaged in this ongoing operation.”