KINGSTON - A team from the Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) and the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) travelled to Port Kaituma, North-West District, Region One on April 4, 2014 to investigate a fire which originated from the vessel ELLIANA B and destroyed several vessels and buildings ashore.
At approximately 07:30 hrs on April 4, the vessel which was discharging diesel fuel into drums ashore caught afire as the pump malfunctioned and jets of the diesel sprayed on the hot surface of the pump.
A fire consequently ignited and engulfed the vessel.
The lone crew member who was on board attempted to fight the fire by himself, but the heat intensified causing him to jump overboard. He swam ashore and raced to the hospital for medical treatment.
Simultaneously, the fire spread to other boats and buildings nearby, destroying four buildings used as dwelling houses, shops and storages. Also five boats are believed to have been destroyed.
The blaze extended on top of the river as well, as the diesel leaked overboard onto some combustible garbage in the water.
Residents from the community formed themselves in bucket brigades and were successful in stopping the fire from spreading to other buildings ashore.
There were no fatalities and the only reported casualty was the crew member who sustained first degree burns to his back and feet. He is currently being treated at Port Kaituma Hospital.
Meanwhile, Minister of Public Works Robeson Benn reiterated the need for persons to clear the waterfront area. He went on to state that the congestion is hampering much needed road works in the area.
Hon. Benn also noted that his Ministry is pursuing several measures to deal with maritime safety in the area and the issue handling illegally imported fuel in the area.
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