Following a court order, the vessel which recently severely damaged the Demerara Harbour Bridge has left Guyana’s waters and the government has vowed to pursue a billion-dollar claim against its owners.
A statement from the Ministry of Public Works follows:
MT TRADEWIND PASSION (Oil tanker)
It is public knowledge that on the 8th day of October, 2022 at around 2:00am, during a scheduled retraction the vessel- Tradewind Passion, an oil tanker allided with the Demerara Harbour Bridge, causing substantial damages and halting economic and social affairs of residents in regions 2,3,4 and 7.
Being aware of the magnitude of the damages, the Maritime Administration Department, (MARAD) through the Harbour Master served a Notice of Detention on the vessel Tradewind Passion which is provided for under the Guyana Shipping Act.
To secure a claim against the oil tanker, the Demerara Harbour Bridge, through its legal counsel, on the first available working day since the incident filed a claim for damages caused as a result of the allision in the sum of one billion dollars. The Demerara Harbour Bridge also indicated in their claim that expenses were, not at the time, finalised and the initial sum of damages was likely to be much higher.
A requisition was also made for the arrest of the vessel, which was granted on the very day. Almost immediately the legal team for the Tradewind Passion launched proceedings against the Demerara Harbour Bridge. And, for the remainder of the month of October and most of November, there have been several court hearings concerning the arrest of the vessel and its release. Honouring the principle of sub judice, this is all that will be disclosed concerning ongoing litigation on this issue. What can however be stated, is that the Honourable Madam Justice Corbin- Lincoln, being satisfied with the Letter of Undertaking to the value of two hundred and forty seven million, four hundred and three thousand, six hundred and seventy-one Guyana dollars (GY$247,403,671.), lodged by the vessel owners, granted orders for the release of the vessel. It must be noted that there was no actual payment of monies into the Court.
However, As a Government that upholds the Rule of Law, we view the Orders of the Court as sacrosanct.
Consequent upon these Court Orders, and without notification to the General Manager and Management of the Demerara Harbour Bridge, the Tradewind Passion sailed on Monday 21st November, 2022.
It should never be inferred that the State of Guyana through its regulatory agencies have no control over its waters and Marine traffic. To make such inferences is mischievous, ridiculous and deliberately misleading.
Throughout the period of the vessel’s detention, matters concerning the anchorage, repairs to the vessel, supply of provisions for the crew and other matters relating to the welfare of crew members, were, at all times, known.
In the event that one is not too au fait with maritime affairs, it should be noted that any ocean going vessel set to depart Guyana’s waters cannot just sail into the sunset at will. There are processes that have to be initiated, and which are facilitated by a shipping agency.
Therefore, it would be absurd for one to assume that a vessel like the Tradewind Passion, which is currently the subject of court action would not be monitored.
All of Guyana is assured that Government will continue to vigorously pursue its claims in this matter to ensure that the Demerara Harbour Bridge is justly compensated for the damages caused by the Tradewind Passion.