The government has issued a cease and desist order to Four C’s adventures after one its tour boats exploded on Saturday killing one American woman and injuring 10 others, Minister of Transport and Local Government Frankie Campbell said yesterday.
“Due to the nature of this incident, the acting port controller of the Port Department, Commander Raymond King, in collaboration with the Exuma Port Board, has issued an immediate cease and desist order in respect of this company,” Campbell said at the ministry’s headquarters on West Bay Street.
“It is intended to ensure that nothing impedes the investigation into this matter.”
The vessel was a 38-foot gas powered craft with two tanks, with a capacity of 120 gallons each, Campbell said.
He said it was “home built of aluminum” and had two 2012 300 horsepower Yamaha engines.
“Accidents do happen,” he said.
“At this point, I don’t want to speculate as to the cause of the accident.
“I don’t want anyone to interpret the fact that we asked the company to cease its operations as any indication of a conclusion of the investigation. It is normal procedure.
“There are a number of other vessels that the company owns. I think it is prudent to ensure that everything is in order, that we can assure and guarantee the safety as we move forward.
“So, it is not a finite decision. It is a temporary suspension of the operations until we are satisfied that we can move forward safely.”
He noted that Captain Cyril Morley, registered inspector and surveyor, travelled with police to Exuma to begin investigations into the accident.
Campbell also extended condolences to the family of Malika Jackson, the woman killed following the explosion.
“…We are tremendously saddened by this incident, particularly the loss of life and the horrific injuries which have been sustained and we pledge all the resources of this ministry and the Port Department to determine the circumstances which led to its occurrence and to inform the Bahamian public accordingly,” he said.
According to police and witnesses, the boat had left Barraterre, Exuma when it exploded.
The boat was carrying 10 American passengers and two Bahamian crew on a tour of the Exuma Cays to visit the world famous swimming pigs.
In the aftermath of the explosion, passengers jumped overboard in an effort to escape the flames.
A second Four C’s boat approached the burning boat and passengers on that boat recorded portions of the rescue.
Police said the victims were transported to the mini-hospital in George Town.
Six of them were later transported to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) on New Providence.
Three of the six were discharged on Sunday, including the boat’s captain.
An American man was airlifted to Broward General Hospital in Fort Lauderdale on Monday.
Two woman remain at PMH.
In a statement, the Public Hospitals Authority said that officials from the U.S. Embassy and PMH were working with the family of the deceased to facilitate her transfer.
Education: College of The Bahamas, English