Gov’t. to tighten grip on commercial boating operators

Gov’t. to tighten grip on commercial boating operators

Minister of Transport Renward Wells expressed Tuesday that a stronger grip will be placed on commercial boating operators in the wake of a damaging report released earlier this week.

The report revealed that the tragic boating accident involving Four C’s Adventures was not properly inspected nor regulated by the relevant authorities within the Port Department stationed on Exuma.

The deadly accident claimed the life of one American and injured nine others.

Wells confirmed to Eyewitness News outside of Cabinet Tuesday that the government is in the process of reviewing the report and the axe will fall where it may.

“I am disappointed,” Wells exclaimed.

“There is a concern and where we are slack we are going to tighten up.”

Wells attributed the oversight to a lack of manpower on Exuma and yesterday called for all vessels currently out at sea, and in port, to register themselves with the Port Department immediately.

“Yesterday, I moved to issue certain instructions to the Port Department to have every ship and boat in Exuma to come in and have us inspect their vessel so that we can bring the requisite regulations to this industry; not just in Exuma but throughout the country,” he noted.

The report did not pinpoint an exact cause which led to the accident, but it did note that the vessel’s shoddy composition was a contributing factor.

In the wake of this revelation, Wells said the government will introduce a new regime to regulate the way commercial vessels should be built.

“A naval architect should be able to look at drawings and say, ‘this is a boat that is safe,’ but, that is not done in The Bahamas,” he said.

“So, we have a number of persons who have built boats so now before those boats are built we are going to have a naval architect review those designs to make sure that they are safe.”

With a lack of due diligence by authorities, the minister confirmed that there will be a further investigation.

“It’s going to be turned over to the Attorney General’s office so he can weigh in,” he said.

“When the report was released it was also given to the victims and the United States (U.S.) government so we will be waiting to hear what comes out of it in that regard.

“The Bahamas government will then have to respond,” he said.

The government will also streamline commercial vessel registration by documenting all registered vessels into a database, which is expected to help maritime officials keep a closer eye on those who try their hand at outsmarting the law.

Eyewitness News contacted Four C’s Adventures on Tuesday afternoon, but there was no comment given.