By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE Port Department yesterday moved to seize vessels owned by Four C’s Adventures after it was reported the Exuma tour company had resumed operations in contravention of a government order.
Four C’s was ordered to cease and desist operations until an investigation into a fatal boating accident that claimed the life of an American woman two weeks ago and maimed two others is completed.
Yesterday, Transport Minister Renward Wells confirmed the tour company had imported a boat from New Providence to conduct tours, and was operating without the approval of the Port Authority. He said the Bahamas Maritime Authority’s investigation into the accident was complete and a report was expected shortly.
When The Tribune called the company on Monday, and last week, a customer service representative confirmed the company has resumed its tours and is making bookings.
It is understood operations resumed on July 11.
“We understand they were operating without the approval of Port Authority,” Mr Wells said yesterday.
“They were trying to circumvent the cease and desist order. The Bahamas Maritime Authority (is) done with their investigation, and have gone back to London to write the report. We will be getting the report momentarily. The port controller has instructed port officers in Exuma to seize vessels conducting business.”
Mr Wells could not confirm how many vessels were seized up to press time, telling The Tribune: “Any vessel they put out to sea in that business we will take, there is a cease and desist order.”
The June 30 incident resulted in the death of an American woman, Maleka Jackson, and led two other people to suffer amputation of limbs. These included Mrs Jackson’s husband Tyran Jackson and another visitor, Stefanie Schaffer.
Lawyer Elliot Lockhart, QC, told The Tribune on Monday he knew nothing about a cease and desist order against the company, adding the government lacked “the power to shut him down”.
Mr Lockhart represents Clayton Patterson Smith, the owner of Four C’s.