One day after Commission of Enquiry (CoE) members visited Paria Fuel Trading Company for a first-hand view of the sites which were involved following the deaths of four LMCS divers in February, Paria Fuel is planning to retrieve a crucial piece of evidence from the seafloor.
Paria attorney Gilbert Peterson SC said yesterday that Paria Fuel will try to salvage LMCS’s hyperbaric chamber (habitat) from the seabed.
The habitat was where divers Christopher Boodram, Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry, Kazim Ali Jr and Rishi Nagassar worked on February 25 when a Delta P incident sucked them into Sealine 36 at Paria’s Berth 6 in the Pointe-a-Pierre harbour.
Boodram survived after crawling and swimming out of the 30-inch diameter pipeline and was rescued by Ronald Ramoutar and Corey Crawford.
Following the incident and retrieval of the divers’ bodies, LMCS tried to remove the habitat on March 22. However, the chamber fell to the sea floor during that process.
Peterson said Paria was seeking permission to bring the habitat to the surface so the CoE can inspect it. The chamber is also resting on Sealine 36 and Paria wants it removed, he pointed out.
However, Peterson said Paria Fuel did not want to remove it until the CoE had an opportunity to visit the scene and then grant leave for the company to bring it up.
“Of course, it will require LMCS consent because it is their asset. But in the event that they may not be inclined to expend the resources to bring it up, Paria is prepared to do it and make it available to the commission for viewing and after, to be handed back to LMCS as the case may be. But it is not desirable to have it sit where it is now.”
CoE chairman Jerome Lynch, KC, said it was an eminent and sensible idea he would encourage. While it is not in his authority, he said it seemed wise as he wanted to see it.
“I think it would make some sense. I see no reason why LMCS would wish to keep it at the bottom of the ocean, and I can see no reason why you would want to keep it there. So, if you all can agree to its extraction, that is the ideal thing to do. I encourage it,” Lynch said.
He advised them to inform the Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) of this plan.
It was also revealed that OSHA had finalised its report on the incident, and its counsel is examining the document.
Lynch said the CoE wants it as soon as possible and will make it available to everyone soon after.
“I hope it is not going to be necessary to do anything Draconian in making sure that we get it, but it is no use handing it to me at Easter next year. We need it next week and will do everything we can to get it. Once we get it, you will have it,” Lynch said.
Lynch said Paria’s planner, Terrance Rampersadsingh, had volunteered to give an interview at the CoE at its base at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts, San Fernando. He added that the CoE would not publish the video recording of the moments after the accident caught on Ali Jr’s GoPro, on the commission’s website for obvious reasons.
The video was played during Monday’s sitting and some of the victims’ family members left the room during that time because it was too harrowing for them.
Lynch said LMCS, legal representatives and the divers’ families are entitled to the video recording. However, he said anyone else has to justify why they want it.