Former OSH inspector Saffraz Ali and social activist Umar Abdulah speak at a press conference on the diving accident, on Monday 28 February 2022. (Image by RISHI RAGOONATH)
RADHICA DE SILVA
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Questions are being asked as to why a tarpaulin has been placed on offshore platform Berth Number 6, concealing a 30-inch Sealine riser pipeline that trapped four divers on Friday.

The 400-meter pipeline is on the seabed in 60 feet of water off Pointe-a-Pierre.

Speaking at a press conference at the Paria car park in Pointe-a-Pierre a short while ago, former Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) inspector Safraz Ali said too many questions have gone unanswered.

He said a relative is at the scene and has confirmed that a tarpaulin was placed on the offshore platform.

Ali also questioned whether a job hazard analysis was done before the four divers were sent into the pipeline.

“We want to know, what caused the vortex? Where is the job hazard analysis report? Why did they take so long to extract those divers? Who in Paria was ensuring that the diving protocols were in effect?” Ali asked.

He also said Paria must indicate whether the divers had communicated with personnel on the surface at the time of the mishap.

“We want to know, how long did it take for Paria to respond? Were diving protocols followed? We have four possible fatalities, there was a breakdown in the system, and someone must be held accountable,” he added.

He also called on Paria chairman, Newman George, to indicate why approval was given for such a high-risk job in the first place:

“If the risk was high and you could not send divers, why did you approve this job? Who is going to be held responsible for the four divers’ lives?

He also said flushing the line is insensitive and inhumane.

“We are concerned about this method because it means dismembering of the body parts. If it is a recovery, let them allow the bodies to be intact. Relatives want their loved ones and they should be given this at least,” Ali said.

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This is a developing story, and Guardian Media will bring you more as details unfold.