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The search for the three fishermen who went missing after the Noble House Seafoods trawler sank on February 19 near the Mahaica River has been suspended.
The announcement was made in the presence of the families of Captain Harold Damon, Winston Sam, Ronald Burton and the lone survivor Vincent Dazzell by Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill. During the meeting which took place at the Public Works Ministry, it was disclosed that after covering over 1,800 nautical miles within 936 hours, the fishermen nor the vessel could be found. The search was undertaken by Noble House Seafoods, the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and the Guyana Defence Force- Coast Guard.
Minister Edghill in expressing his sympathy to the families, said “at this point, I do not know what else I can do in terms of search. It is a tough decision but we would have to suspend the search and go into a new phase of being on the alert while we continue to traverse the areas praying that we find something.
“MARAD has assured me that the sonar equipment which scans the river bed, was damaged during the search. As soon as we could get the parts, we will do a scanning of the sea bed again once we get that fixed.”
While there are many unanswered questions, the Minister said he is saddened that the search has to be suspended until any new information surfaces. The Minister said he wants the families to be assured that government has done everything possible to bring the matter to a close.
He also highlighted to the families that there has never been a search for missing persons as extensive and within such a long period, as the search for the three missing fishermen.
“Some people felt that I would have suspended the search after a couple of days and you are not seeing anything floating but I know that there are human beings with real emotions that are looking for answers and I would also want as a person in the discharge of my responsibility as the Minister responsible for the sector, to ensure that everything that was humanly possible, every resource that is available to the state and to the private sector was utilised to ensure that we get answers,” Minister Edghill stated. The report stemming from the Board of Inquiry which was launched into the matter will be made available today, the Minister said. A copy of the report, he assured will be made available to the families of the missing fishermen. “If you have any questions, concerns or any information that could help us at the end of reading that report, my office remains open and available to you for engagement,” he said.
The members of this Board of Inquiry are: Yulander Hughes from the Transport and Harbours Department, MARAD’s Captain John Flores, Ronald Charles from the Ministry of Public Works, Lt. Rawle Williams from the Coast Guard, Senior Superintendent Ewart Wray from the Guyana Police Force- Marine Unit, Dwayne Vhypius from the Ministry of Labour and Denzil Roberts, who is the Head of the Fisheries Department at the Ministry of Agriculture. (DPI)