Sun | May 9, 2021

Capsized party boat was not licensed

Operators will be charged, says Westmoreland police chief

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:28 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
The thatched party boat (at left) that capsized off the Negril coastline on the weekend. The police said charges are likely to be laid.
The thatched party boat (at left) that capsized off the Negril coastline on the weekend. The police said charges are likely to be laid.

WESTERN BUREAU: The party boat that capsized in Negril last weekend was not licensed to carry visitors, says the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), an agency of the Ministry of the Tourism. And the operators are to be charged by the...

WESTERN BUREAU:

The party boat that capsized in Negril last weekend was not licensed to carry visitors, says the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), an agency of the Ministry of the Tourism.

And the operators are to be charged by the police, who have confirmed that their investigations are far advanced in relation to the breaches of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).

“If it is proven that that there was in excess of 10 persons on the boat; if there was loud music emanating from within the boat, they breached the DRMA, because if are going to play music, you need a permit,” Superintendent Robert Gordon, commander of the Westmoreland Police Division, told The Gleaner on Monday.

Gordon said charges will be laid in relation to the incident, which could have resulted in mass casualties at sea.

Reports are that when other seafarers moved over to help persons on the tilting vessel, the added weight caused the distressed boat to lean to one side.

Crackdowns on entertainment events banned because of COVID-19 social-gathering risks have driven partygoers to sea, said Gordon.

“But we will be strategising, and we will be prosecuting them on sea, on land, and if they go in the air, there will be a way for us,” the commanding officer said.

The boat investigation is being led jointly by the divisional and marine police.

The thatched-roof boat involved in the incident is reportedly owned by a Canadian woman. It is unclear whether the vessel was certified by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ).

MAJ guidelines require fire, insurance, and other safety compliance.

Built to look like a mini catamaran, the boat was resting on two pontoons. The owners used sandbags to maintain balance. The boat also housed a stripper pole, which was one of its popular attractions.

Efforts to get comment from Negril hoteliers whose guests have reportedly been using the boat proved unsuccessful.

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com