Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 20th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, August 20, 2013
The party boat that ran
aground off the Port-of-Spain
harbour on Sunday afternoon
floated again as soon as the last
passengers were taken off that
night and the tide began to rise.
Adrian Scoon, managing director
of the company that owns the
Harbour Master party boat, told
the T&T Guardian yesterday the
boat had been inspected and found
to be undamaged after it hit a par-
tially submerged shipwreck 500
feet off the coast.
The Harbour Master was
stranded at low tide for seven hours
following the incident.
Just hours after the completion
of the Coast Guard rescue oper-
ation that ferried 540 passengers
to shore at 12.30 am yesterday, the
Harbour Master s Facebook page
issued an apology, then promptly
posted a flyer for the company s
next big party on Independence
night, August 31.
The apology read: "We apologise
for the inconvenience and assure
that all measures necessary have
been discussed and are being
implemented to ensure there is
never a reoccurrence of last night s
No refunds have been issued to
passengers as yet.
Asked whether Captain Wendell
Lopez, who was skippering the
boat, was available for an interview,
Scoon said he was sleeping.
When asked if Lopez had been
traumatised by the incident, Scoon
said he had not slept as he was
assisting the Maritime Services
Division with a boat inspection
until 5.45 am yesterday.
Justyn Mayers, a photographer
who was on board the ship, took
pictures of the rescue operation
but was told to put his camera
away by plainclothes police officers
and crew members.
Contacted yesterday, Mayers said
while there was no visible panic
among partygoers, the festivities
had been interrupted by a heavy
"Everybody felt it. Everybody
was jolted forward and the DJ
stopped the music and said he had
children to live for and asked what
was happening," he said.
At that point the crew ran to
the back of the ship to check the
A distress call was issued to the
Coast Guard at 5.30 pm and three
fast patrol craft were dispatched.
Mayers said no exact informa-
tion about what was happening
was given to passengers during the
seven-hour wait onboard but they
were told they were in no danger.
He said crew members had been
issued with lifejackets but passen-
gers were not.
Yesterday, Lt Kirk Jean-Baptiste,
of the T&T Coast Guard, said two
officers boarded the vessel after it
ran aground and found the integri-
ty of the hull was not compro-
He said it was, therefore, con-
sidered safe for those on board to
continue the party while rescue
boats took them off in groups of
100 at a time.
Later, the party cruiser was
returned to its berth and inspected
by officers of the Maritime Services
Division, the agency that regulates
All parties attributed the acci-
dent to low tides.
However, a spokesman from the
Port Authority, told the T&T
Guardian low tide was at 7.43 pm.
The Harbour Master struck the
wreck at 5.30 pm.
The spokesman said a captain
would normally be able to see a
partially submerged wreck sticking
out of the water, particularly at
low tide, and steer clear of it,
adding this incident sounded like
it "could be due to some careless-
Asked whether spring tides
might have caused an abnormally
low tide, he said any such factors
Harbour Master undamaged after mishap...
Owners advertise for next cruise
A 67-year-old pensioner
appeared in court yesterday for
failing to pay $9,360 in court-
ordered child maintenance.
Cyril Leslie, of Maraval, told
Magistrate Wendy Dougdeen-
Bally he did not pay the main-
tenance because he did not have
a steady income for the past three
He said he recently began
receiving old age pension and
could now afford to repay the
Leslie was arrested yesterday
when he visited the Port-of-
Spain Magistrates Court, St Vin-
cent Street, Port-of-Spain, to
enquire and pay his outstanding
According to court documents,
he had not paid the $60-a-week
maintenance between May 22,
2010 and May 17, 2013---a total
of 186 weeks.
After questioning Leslie briefly,
Dougdeen-Bally ordered him to
pay approximately $1,000 a
month until the debt was cleared.
In default, Leslie will serve six
months simple imprisonment.
Leslie represented himself dur-
ing the short hearing and was
released from custody after he
agreed to abide by the repayment
plan and timeframe stipulated
Police prosecutor Sgt Callister
Charles appeared for the State.
Man, 67, in court for failing
to pay child maintenence
would have been known about long in
Jean-Baptiste, the Coast Guard s
communications specialist, said he
believed climate change had created
abnormal tidal patterns in recent years
which might also have been a factor in
Sunday night s incident.
The Maritime Services Division will
be carrying out an investigation into
the incident focusing on the route of
the ship and whether the weight of the
passengers on board was taken into
account prior to sailing.
Passengers rescued from the Harbour Master ferry party cruise, which ran aground in the Gulf of Paria on Sunday evening, are brought ashore at the
Breakfast Shed on board a Coast Guard cutter on Sunday night. PHOTO: SEAN NERO
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