Panic onboard MV Sabanto being investigated

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…after fears of vessel sinking in Essequibo River

An alarming amount of water accumulated on the lower deck of the MV Sabanto on Thursday as the vessel was plying its regular route from Parika to Supenaam during high tide, and panic erupted on board ship as fear began to spread that the vessel was on the verge of sinking in the Essequibo River.

According to information received, a female passenger had ventured onto the lower deck and noticed the large amount of water; and she raised an alarm that resulted in scores of persons rushing to secure themselves with lifejackets in anticipation of the vessel going under.
Although the vessel’s operators were unable to identify the source of the influx, they managed to complete the journey to Supenaam, whereupon the vessel was docked and remains at the stelling.
It is unclear whether the inflow of water was due to a compromise in the vessel, or whether the accumulation had simply resulted from waves overtopping the sides of the vessel because of the intense current; but Police and the Public Infrastructure Ministry have since been notified about the incident, and an investigation has been launched, wherein several passengers were questioned in relation to what had transpired.
The MV Sabanto was acquired by the previous Government to operate the said Parika-Supenaam route. The vessel had been out of service for a lengthy period, after it had crashed into the Supenaam Stelling in July of last year and had sustained extensive damage.

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