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Blue Lagoon boat ‘complied with regulations’

The submerged vessel.

The submerged vessel.

By EARYEL BOWLEG

Tribune Staff Reporter

ebowleg@tribunemedia.net

ACTING Port Controller Lieutenant Commander Berne Wright said both the catamaran that sank enroute to Blue Lagoon Island on Tuesday and its captain fully complied with regulations governing the sector.

The vessel’s sinking led to the death of a 75-year-old American woman on Tuesday.

Lt Cdr Wright said the vessel was licensed to carry 200 people, but had 145 on board.

He said the boat had the required number of life preservers.

“The vessel is registered at the Port Department,” he said. “The captain is licensed. The registration is current. Insurance is up to date. The registration process includes an inspection, so the vessel would have been inspected and is due for another one next month.”

 Lt Cdr Wright said officials will now investigate what happened, why and what measures are needed to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

 He spoke to The Tribune after the Ministry of Energy and Transport said the Port Department is leading a multi-agency investigation into the accident. 

 The ministry announced “the suspension of all commercial ferries in fleet of the Islander III’s operator pending a safety review by the Port Department and The Bahamas Maritime Casualty Investigators”.

 Passengers on the double-deck vessel complained that staff panicked and didn’t help them as the ship sank.

 Lt Cdr Wright said while this may become apparent as investigations continue, staff conduct is a matter for the company and its internal operating procedures. He suggested existing laws and regulations do not cover this.

 He promised a thorough and transparent investigation.

 The Tribune contacted Blue Lagoon Island representatives, but got no response up to press time.

Comments

Observer 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Is there a stipulation relative to the sea/weather conditions under which the vessel should operate?

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ExposedU2C 6 months, 2 weeks ago

There is no way a sea vessel that size could be legitimately licensed to carry 200 passengers from a safety standpoint. It's like government regulators saying to the business owners/operators of the vessel that all concerned were properly licensed to put the lives of innocent people in peril and therefore no one need be concerned about the consequences of any wrong doing that resulted in the tragic loss of life..

Berne Wright should have kept his big mouth shut and not been so eager to offer protection to either the vessel's business owners/operators, the captain of the vessel, or the regulators responsible for ensuring the vessel was properly inspected and licensed as being safe for its intended use and for such a large number of passengers.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I thought the same of Superintendent Skippings' comments, she immediately surmised "this is due to bad weather". If that were the case you would have heard about numerous vessels, operating normally, on the water but experiencing difficulties. The second oddity (from earlier reporting) was the reported response of the crew, it was almost comical, something youd expect to have seen on Airplane the Movie, "one crew member ran upstairs hysterical and grabbed a life vest (for herself)", noone should have been characterizing anything over those minutes as "normal"

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Economist 6 months, 2 weeks ago

The facts speak for themselves.

Our idea of regulation is sub-standard. Our requiremnts to licence a captain are clearly sub-standard.

Our regulators are clearly sub-standard.

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bahamianson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

I have learned the hard way that you must set your bar very low living I. The Bahamas , or otherwisw, die of stress. Don't expect too much from any entity , and you will be just fine.

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ThisIsOurs 6 months, 2 weeks ago

"Lt Cdr Wright said while this may become apparent as investigations continue, staff conduct is a matter for the company and its internal operating procedures. He suggested existing laws and regulations do not cover this."

I saw a video of the sinking on cnn.com, hopefully they dont start reporting on the statements from our officials, because we sound like morons.

How can a spokesman from a govt regulatory body say how a commercial sea vessel choses to train staff to handle passenger safety in an emergency is an internal matter??? "existing laws do mot cover this" of course not, our MPs too busy making sure their christmas billboards get put up

The PM calling Sam Bankman asking for advice for his son, Sam being asked to release money to Bahamians first by "somebody", An MP accused of rape sitting in the House of Parliament for almost 3months while the police try to first get the accuser to sign a document not to press charges, then run round the mulberry bush trying to determine how not to press charges, another sitting MP hanging out 250k in contracts to paint a water tank, another sitting MP saying handing out contracts at Beaches and Parks to supporters, everybody knows how this works (no we dont all know, we did suspect corruption though), Christina Rolle frantically emailing Sam Bankman after the rumours of a reported collapse of FTX was reported outside the Bahamas trying to find out how many clients he had, another sitting minister stating in a public trial that he had no issue with nepotism then asking about lunch.

We just sound like a bunch of dummies.

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