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RADHICA DE SILVA

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As separate investigations begin into the diving tragedy at No. 36 sealine which left four divers dead, Paria Fuel Trading Company says it will make available all relevant documents to the investigators.

Guardian Media reached out to the company on Thursday, just hours before the funeral of Rishi Nagassar was set to take place at his Richmond Street, Perseverance, Couva home.

Questions were asked as to whether Paria was issued a prohibition notice from the Occupational Safety and Health Agency, to stop all work at the scene of the accident.

Paria issued a notice just before midday indicating that it welcomes the Government’s decision to establish a Commission of Inquiry and looks forward to presenting the facts on the incident which took place on February 25, at Paria’s facility in Pointe-a-Pierre. 

“Paria also takes this opportunity to clarify and reinforce the decision to prevent further entry by LMCS divers into the 30-inch pipeline during the search and rescue exercise on February 25.”

The release said this decision was “made by Paria and supported by the TT Coast guard and other external experts.” 

The company also said that OSH is currently conducting its investigation into the incident.

“Paria is fully committed to making available all relevant documents and information to the investigating team, and we look forward to the completion of the investigation.”

Last Friday, attorney Prakash Ramadhar who is representing the families of Yusuf Henry, Fyzal Kurban and Christopher Boodram issued a letter to Paria’s chairman Newman George giving Paria seven days to respond to a call for all material and evidence pertaining to the divers’ untimely deaths to be handed over.

Ramadhar said all company officials should be placed on a leave of absence or suspended pending the outcome of the investigations.

He noted that the window of opportunity to save the divers was cut short when a named company official decided not to send other divers in to save the men.

The divers were doing underwater maintenance on the inactive pipeline around 2 pm on February 25 when they were sucked in by a vortex. One hour later suction bubbles surfaced and a standby diver went into but did not see them. Relatives were alerted and at 5:30 pm, a certified diver rescued Boodram. The bodies of Kurban, Nagassar, Kazim Ali Junior and Yusuf Henry were found days later.