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Govt to take legal action after water taxi fire—Minister

Published: 
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, left, during yesterday’s sitting of Senate.

Reports on two investigations into the March fire which occurred on the Trini Flash water taxi are being sent to the Attorney General for action and also to private legal counsel on Nidco’s behalf , Works Minister Rohan Sinanan has revealed.

He did so yesterday, replying in the Senate to Opposition queries concerning the fire which took place on board the vessel. This caused 63 people to be transferred from that vessel— while at sea—to the Cabo Star cargo vessel.

Sinanan said, “The ministry regards this incident as extremely serious. Two separate investigations into the matter were commissioned. National Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (Nidco) commissioned an independent investigation . The other was commissioned by the Maritime Services Division.”

“The reports of both investigations were submitted and their conclusions aren’t at variance. Basically, the reports concluded that the primary cause of the fire was due to the poor workmanship in the installation of the Lagging (thermal insulation) around the exhaust silencer over one of the replaced engines,”

“The supply and installation of the Lagging was done by R&R Industrial Supplies Limited, through a competitive tendering process. “Sinanan added, “Based on the findings of these investigations, I’ve directed Nidco to immediately refer the matter to the Attorney General’s office for consideration and action, and also a private legal counsel to consider Nidco’s recourse against the company responsible for the installation.”

He said the Flash hasn’t returned to service since the fire as certain class certification is required following a fire. Repairs would also be needed since the cable and cable racks were destroyed. It will return to service once it’s certified, he added.

Sinanan said since the fire on the vessel, Nidco did a complete check on the three other water taxis to ensure what happened with the Lagging on the “Flash” didn’t occur with the others. Two other water taxis were taken off the service the day after the fire.”

Sinanan said two will return to service by next week. Once the Trini Flash is repaired and certified, it’ll be back on also. The fourth vessel returns to work later this year, he added.

He said he saw no reason why— after repairs and certification—the Trini Flash shouldn’t return to service on the Tobago run or the PoS/San Fernando route.”These water taxis were designed for travel in waters between Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

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