Three killed in coastal oil tanker explosion while pumping gasoline into plastic bottles

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 June 2021, 11:07 by Denis Chabrol

Three men have been killed in an explosion aboard a coastal fuel tanker at a wharf at Friendship, East Bank Demerara while gasoline was being pumped out of the vessel into plastic bottles, police said.

“At the time there were no maintenance works being conducted on the said vessel,” police said and “It appears that the deceased were pumping gasoline from the sediment or reserve of the fuel tank.”

The incident occurred Saturday between 4:40 PM and 5:30 PM aboard the vessel named ‘Canada Club’ which is owned by Sewsankar.

Those dead are 60-year old Seepersaud Persaud, a boat captain of Bee Hive, Essequibo Coast; Mark Mangal and 29-year old Damion Dias, a sailor of Sarah Johanna, East Bank Demerara. After the fire was out out, police said the bodies of the men were seen lying motionless on the eastern side of the deck.

Police said they found what seemed to be yellow bottles of gasoline in the captain’s car trunk. “As a result checks were made in the boat captain’s motorcar # PTT 2965 which revealed 5 six gallon bottles and one 5 gallon bottle with suspected gasoline which were found in the trunk of the said motorcar,” police said. Investigators have taken samples of the contents and have lodged the remainder at the Grove Police Station.

Police said the vessel, Canada Club, was docked at the western side of another vessel Rowenar.

Investigators were informed that Canada Club had delivered a shipment of  diesel and gasoline at Guyoil Adventure, Essequibo Coast Friday, June 25 and returned to the wharf at Friendship at about 10:30 AM where it was docked.

“About 16:40hrs a loud explosion was heard coming from the direction of the vessel. Thereafter smoke and fire was seen emanating from the bow of the vessel.  As a result, the Diamond Fire Service was summoned to the scene and went into action immediately and fire was extinguished,” the Guyana Police Force said.

Investigators said the the explosion came from the engine room and it was further discovered that a hose was connected to the said fuel pump which was observed to be partially burnt out. “It was also observed that the remains of a yellow plastic bottle was found near the hose.

Police said further checks revealed that there are control valves in the vicinity of the fuel tank and the only valve which was found to be open was the gasoline tank valve.

Indications are that the gasoline was being removed without authorisation. “The owner of the vessel told police that all the valves should have been closed and the hose must only be connected to the fuel pump when discharging fuel.”