RADHICA DE SILVA
Recovery efforts to retrieve the body of a fourth diver are still underway as relatives gather at the Forensic Science Centre this morning to view the bodies of the other three divers, who were killed inside a 30-inch submarine pipeline over the weekend.
The men—Fyzal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar, Kazim Ali Jr, Yusuf Henry—are now being hailed as this country’s heroes.
Kurban, who had 30 years of experience as a diver, gave his life to save his colleague Christopher Boodram who was the lone survivor of the tragedy. Boodram had been pulled out of the pipeline by diver Ronald Ramoutar.
The divers had been inside a hyperbaric chamber completing repairs on the 30-inch pipeline where water had been pumped out to change nuts to repair a leak. It is believed that when one of the flanges was removed a suction was created.
On the Hunters Search and Rescue Facebook page, a video was posted with the photographs of the dead men, hailing them as heroes of the commercial diving fraternity.
However, relatives said as an investigation commences into the incident, they wanted Paria Fuel Trading Company to answer their questions.
Former inspector of the Occupational Safety and Health Authority Saffraz Ali told Guardian Media that the company must explain what caused a vortex in the pipeline and whether a suitable and sufficient risk assessment was conducted prior to the job. He also said Paria must explain whether there was an emergency response plan in place to deal with any diving emergencies and if so, what was that plan.
“How long did Paria take to respond and what was done? Were all diving protocols followed as per international and local standards, and was there proper supervision at the time?” Ali said.
President General of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union, Ancel Roget, has called for the removal of four Paria executives including chairman Newman George, general manager Mushtaq Mohammed, terminal manager Collin Piper and maintenance manager Michael Lee.
Roget also alleged that workers are being threatened if they speak about the incident. He said the OWTU has offered legal advice to the bereaved families.