Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 2nd 2018 Contents news A9
Friday, February 2, 2018
Wife of missing diver
Were safety protocols followed?
RADHICA DE SILVA
Why was Chevonne Barthole-
mew sent to inspect a ship big-
ger than a football field without
being outfitted with a lifeline?
This is the question his wife
Pete-Ann Bartholemew wants
Fishermen, Coast Guard, Air
Guard and divers continued their
fourth day of searching with the
hope of finding the 37-year-old
Bartholemew disappeared at
sea on Monday while inspecting
the C Spirit oil tanker, anchored
off Gasparee Island, Chaguara-
The tanker is almost 1,000 feet
long, 230 feet wide and 70 feet in
Bartholemew was hired by
Trindivers Underwater Services
and went into the water with
another scuba diver Lee Bedeau
when he disappeared.
In an interview yesterday,
Pete-Ann said she spoke to ex-
perienced divers who said the
C Spirit was a massive ship and
scuba diving should not have
been the method used for the
She said Bartholemew should
have had a helmet and hose
which would have allowed him to
communicate with other divers
and a surface guide. Pete-Ann,
who was adamant that her hus-
band will survive, said she was
making preparations for a cele-
bration for his return home. She
said diving was Bartholemew’s
dream and they invested more
than $100,000 so that he could
become a certified and trained
commercial air diver.
Even though this is one of
the most dangerous jobs in the
world, Pete-Ann said her hus-
band loved it.
Pete-Ann said Bartholemew
worked in a highly competitive
field and was trying to establish
“Doing diving was not an easy
decision. We prayed about it. He
loves swimming and diving and
he was proud when he got cer-
tified in commercial air diving,”
Meanwhile, secretary of Fish-
ermen and Friends of the Sea
Gary Aboud said the area where
Bartholemew went missing has
dangerous currents when the
falling and rising tides meet.
This, he said, creates an under-
water typhoon in that area which
was very dangerous especially
when there were changing tides.
Owner of Trindives Underwa-
ter Services Brian Hamel-Smith
has not responded to questions.
His wife Susan Hamel-Smith
requested that questions be
emailed but no response was
Aboud questions Kallco getting
$1m per day for no work—Page A11
Pete-Ann Bartholemew, wife of missing diver Chevonne Bartholemew
(inset), at her Valencia home yesterday.
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Diving body calls for stricter standards
Divers usually compete for limited
jobs but the disappearance of their
colleague, Chevonne Bartholemew,
has brought the diving fraternity
and they are calling for an end to
commercial scuba air diving in T&T.
In an interview yesterday, pres-
ident of the Divers Association of
T&T Rupert Paul said this form of
air diving posed serious risks.
He said if Bartholemew had a hel-
met and hose, he would not have
Paul said the Association will
meet with the T&T Bureau of Stand-
ards on February 15, to discuss the
Demanding legislative changes to
protect divers, the Association said
companies operating within the oil
and gas sector must be regulated.
He said stipulations should be
made to outfit divers with helmets
and hose rather than scuba gear
when doing commercial air diving
Paul said this method was not
safe for commercial divers as they
have no lifeline or surface commu-
nication. He said scuba diving is
“We think scuba should only be
used for recreational purposes or
for the filming of documentaries
but as far as shipping jobs are con-
cerned, it should be stopped,” Paul
Association member Antonio
O’Connor said scuba divers have no
form of communication unless you
are using signals or have some con-
tact with someone on the surface.
“Once it is commercial diving you
should not be doing scuba. This
has been outlawed in England and
America. With scuba, you don’t
have a continuous flow of air and
you work with a limited time and
depth,” O’Connor said.
He noted that divers are under-
paid for high-risk jobs.
He said companies must have a
qualified supervisor on the job, a
proper safety profile of the job and
a proper contingency plan.
The area where Bartholemew
disappeared had over 100 feet of
water, O’Connor said.
He said Trinidad had about 130
divers who competed to get jobs
but the disappearance of Barthole-
mew had forced many to take stock
of potential risks.
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