The Board of Inquiry into the tragic sinking of the Noble House fishing vessel which claimed three lives, has found that the Captain and Crew of the vessel were not properly trained, prepared, nor had the experience to deal with emergencies, as the inquiry found no evidence of any training that were undertaken by the Captain and Crew.
The Captain Harold Damon and two crew members Ronald Burton and Winston Sam went missing when the vessel sank on the morning of February 19 off the coast of Mahaicony. Their bodies have never been recovered.
The only survivor of the tragedy, crew member Vincent Dazell and the group of fishermen who saved him provided statements to the Commission and their statements were relied on heavily by the Commission about the incident at sea.
The fishermen who saved Dazzell confirmed his story of being found holding on to a raft while the Captain and other two crew members disappeared under the water.
The inquiry has laid blame for the lack of proper training and emergency response solely at the feet of the Noble House Seafood company, which owned the fishing vessel, World Friend 307.
According to the Inquiry, the company had insufficient knowledge and lacked policies and guidelines of procedures to follow for vessels in an emergency at sea.
The record of the emergency call to the company from the vessel was made on a notepad without any timings or additional details, the inquiry found.
The inquiry also found that while the evidence points to the company receiving the first distress call from the vessel at 6am on the 19th February, it never reported the incident of distress to the authorities until after 7:30 on the evening of the same day, more than 12 hours after receiving the call.
The investigation also found that there was no process of verification of the trawler Captain competency by the company. The Captain’s competency certificate which was provided to the inquiry board by Noble House was found to be fraudulent.
The probe also found that when repairs were last done to the vessel, those repairs were supervised by an employee who is not certified for that job.
Based on the investigations, it was found that the vessel was without early warning safety equipment and alarms.
The Board of Inquiry concluded that the tragedy was mainly due to the absence of proper training and the company’s lack of collective emergency preparedness.
The inquiry was unable to determine the cause of the flooding of the vessel since it remains missing.
A number of recommendations have been put forward by the inquiry board.
News Source understands that the Maritime Department and other related Government agencies are now examining and contemplating what actions could be taken against Noble House Seafoods over the tragedy that left the three men dead.