Paria COE Report: “No plan from Paria formulated to save divers”

Home*Cover Story*Government

Paria COE Report: “No plan from Paria formulated to save divers”

The lone survivor in the Paria diving tragedy Christopher Boodram wants Paria Fuel Trading Company officials to face the full brunt of the law. Boodram called for them to be fired and charged for their roles in the events that transpired in the days following the tragic incident that cost the lives of his four friends and colleagues.

The report was laid by Energy Minister Stuart Young on Friday and has since been forwarded to Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard following a recommendation that Paria be charged with corporate manslaughter. Legal experts have indicated that the charge of corporate manslaughter is against a company, not an individual, and the penalty is a fine.
The CoE was launched following the deaths of divers Rishi Nagassar, Kazim Ali Jr, Fyzal Kurban, and Yusuf Henry in the incident on February 25, 2022. Boodram was the only one who survived.

The five divers, all LMCS employees, were sucked into a 30-inch underwater pipeline while conducting maintenance works at Berth No 6 in the Pointe-a-Pierre harbour. Only Boodram survived after crawling through the dark 30-inch pipe for nearly three hours. The CoE was chaired by Jerome Lynch, KC, and included commissioner sub-sea specialist Jerome Wilson.
The commission’s lead attorney was Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC.
There was criticism of Paria officials in the report, in particular its terminal operations manager Collin Piper who did not allow any diving rescue efforts to take place.

While the divers were trapped in the pipeline, with time and oxygen running out, Paria officials were slow to react.
The report noted that Paria officials would have been aware that by 2.45 p.m. the men were missing from the chamber in which they had been doing work.
The commission cited numerous “lost opportunities”, and again noted the time-frames and the delays in action. The report detailed the failures of Paria’s Incident Command System (ICS) and an Incident Command Post (ICP).

The report detailed: “If the primary responsibility of the ICS and any emergency plan is to preserve life. It follows that the faster one acts the more likely the victims can be saved. As time ebbs away so too will the possibility of saving life. This was to prove important as the possible rescuers would have wanted some realistic prospect of successfully recovering live divers from the pipeline before risking their own lives,” stated the report.

The ICT, it noted, prohibited diving and never revisited that ban even when it had some camera footage.
The report also emphasised: “It never came up with a rescue plan at all even if the criteria could not have been fulfilled, assuming it considered at the time any of LMCS’ plans it rejected them all as inadequate without offering any alternative.