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Palisadoes boat audit reveals that only 3 vessels licensed to transport passengers

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — A just-completed audit by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has revealed that only three of the 82 boats found between Palisadoes and Portmore are licensed to carry passengers.

Majority of the other 79 vessels were registered as fishing vessels with the Fisheries Division, while some were either not documented at all or were laid up and not operating when the exercise was carried out, an official at the Ministry of Transport and Mining informed OBSERVER ONLINE this morning.

The boat audit was sanctioned by Minister of Transport and Mining Robert Montague after a boat capsized in Port Royal, leaving two of the 13 people on board dead last month.

Montague disclosed that it was complete following a meeting yesterday with Deryck “Ricky” Decasseres, one of the 11 survivors whose spouse, Janelle Decrasseres, died in the accident.

The survivor and Montague reportedly discussed preventative measures as a continuous effort to minimise the chances of another boating incident.

These included the use of a flag system to indicate or warn when it is unsafe for small vessels to venture out.

Montague also indicated that the general public should be made aware of what these signs mean and what to look out for to ensure that the marine vessels they use are certified when visiting the Cays.

According to reports, the 35-year-old Janelle Decrasseres and the other deceased woman 45-year-old Edith Petscha of Evergreen Drive in Hatfield, Manchester were among a group of twelve passengers who were being transported to Lime Cay about 8:40 am on December 29 when the vessel encountered difficulties.

The captain, 57-year-old Hurbert Dowie of Michelin Avenue, Kingston was unable to rectify the issue and the vessel capsized.

Dowie has since been charged for operating an unlicensed vessel, and is scheduled to appear in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court next Monday.

Montague, during yesterday's meeting, encouraged patrons to only take certified vessels. He further highlighted the need for marine craft operators to get the necessary training to maximise safety, even as the MAJ continues to work on posting adequate safety signage, advising persons travelling to and from Lime Cay and other surrounding areas.

The MAJ currently host training on a regular basis, where it is mandatory for licensed operators to attend and unlicensed individuals are encouraged to participate.


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