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|Tuesday, 19 June 2012 23:10|
COOK STILL MISSING
- owner trying to raise funds for salvaging the vessel
ONCE the body of the still missing cook, 67-year-old Jerrold Fraser is recovered, his funeral expenses will be the responsibility of the vessel’s owner Ramdat Sankar.
In addition, the wife and immediate family of the man will receive a monetary compensation for their loss. This is according to Sankar, who spoke with this newspaper recently in an invited comment.
The man said, at the moment, he is still hoping that Fraser’s body could be recovered after he went missing following the capsizing of the vessel of the Miss Elissa in the Demerara River in the vicinity of Muneshwers wharf two Fridays ago when the captain decided to bring the vessel back because it developed difficulties shortly after it set sail for Trinidad and Tobago.
Sankar said he has been in contact with the family of Mr. Fraser and, last Monday, paid them a visit.
Sankar said he is also trying to raise finances to have the vessel salvaged and brought to shore.
He told this publication that the $34 million fee that he is required to pay to have the job done is way above what he can manage.
He commented that the vessel is the family’s only source of income and is named after his 12-year-old daughter. According to the man, he has some money that will be pooled with whatever other assistance he receives for the salvaging of the vessel.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transport and Hydraulics Mr. Robeson Benn, in a comment late last week, disclosed that neither the Ministry of Public Works nor the Maritime Administration Department can get involved in the salvaging of the vessel. The minister explained that, at present, the vessel is not in the channel and does not pose an immediate threat to vessels using the channel.
According to Benn, should the vessel end up slipping into the channel then his Ministry and the Maritime Administration Department will get involved.
He said that his ministry would then spearhead the salvaging exercise and ensure that the vessel no longer pose a danger to those using the waterways. He added that his ministry will then have to dispose of the vessel to recover the cost for salvaging the vessel.
Last week Mr. Sankar told the Chronicle that the vessel has shifted in the vicinity of the John Fernandes Wharf. He said that they have anchored the vessel so that it does not slip into the channel as they ponder how the salvaging fee will be secured. The man had informed this newspaper that he hopes to have the assistance of the government to assist in the process.
Efforts to get in contact with the proposed salvager were futile.
Sankar recalled that he received a call from the captain of the vessel’s around 17:00 hrs two Fridays ago, informing him that he was encountering some difficulties. Sankar said he immediately ordered the man to return to the wharf but based on what he was told, while navigating back to the wharf the current caused the vessel to topple.
He said the vessel was at the time transporting coconut, coals, lumber and rice to Trinidad, where those items belonged to four different persons who did businesses. The coconut exporter said that this is the first time he was shipping with the vessel.
Mr. Sankar told the media that his vessel sank on the eve of its purchasing date. According to him, he acquired the vessel some four years ago.
There were reports that the vessel had an excavator on board and when the captain was heading back to the port he came with a speed and attempted to make a rash turn thus causing the piece of equipment to shift, resulting in the vessel capsizing.
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