By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Royal Bahamas Defence Force yesterday dispelled an “erroneous” report that one of its newly acquired vessels crashed into a reef while taking officers to a funeral for a fellow marine in Andros over the weekend.
Yesterday, a local tabloid reported that HMBS Arthur Hanna, the first of nine ships designed to upgrade the RBDF fleet in a $232m investment by the government, reportedly “crashed into rocks” while transporting “dozens” of officers to a funeral for fellow marine Angelo Dorsett Jr, who was shot and killed at a nightclub two weeks ago.
As a result of the crash, the tabloid claimed that the boat reportedly suffered $500,000 worth of damage “to the vessel’s hull and propellers”.
The report claimed the officers on board the vessel had to be taken to their final destination by rescue boats and that HMBS Arthur Hanna had to be “towed” back to the Prince George Dock in New Providence.
In a statement yesterday, however, the RBDF denied the claims that the vessel had run aground on rocks over the weekend, but said the boat did make contact with an “object” in the water on its way to Andros.
The RBDF also refuted the claim that the vessel had to be “towed” back to New Providence.
“Contrary to erroneous reports by a local paper, a Royal Bahamas Defence Force vessel did not ‘crash into reefs’ while transporting personnel to North Andros over the weekend,” the statement said.
“The vessel in question did however come into contact with an object in the water on Saturday morning while transiting the channel leading to Morgan’s Bluff harbour.
“An initial assessment revealed that a replaceable blade on a propeller was slightly chipped.
“No persons were in danger of loss of life or injury at anytime during the incident.”
“The vessel returned to Nassau, as planned, under its own power and without any need for assistance after completing its mission,” the RBDF’s statement said.
“As a matter of routine, a further assessment of the vessel’s hull and propeller will be conducted followed by an inquiry to ascertain cause of the incident.”
The ship was carrying officers to Mr Dorsett’s hometown in Andros for his funeral.
Mr Dorsett became the country’s ninth murder victim for the year when a gunman opened fire on patrons at the G-Spot nightclub at Faith Avenue north last month.
A gunman shot out the front door of the nightclub and entered to search for another man, but then started firing indiscriminately into the crowded bar as patrons scrambled to escape.
Mr Dorsett died at the scene after he was shot in his back, according to Central Detective Unit Chief Superintendent Paul Rolle, who said police responded to the incident sometime around 1.30am.
Another man was shot in his arm and stomach and taken to hospital.
A third victim was listed as stable after being struck in the face.
Chief Supt Rolle confirmed that the gunman’s intended target escaped the scene unharmed.
Police later made several arrests in connection with the incident.