The hyperbaric chamber, also known as the habitat, which the LMCS divers were working in before being sucked into the pipeline, will be lifted to the surface from the ocean floor.
In September this year during the first procedural hearing of the Commission of Enquiry (CoE) into the Paria diving tragedy, Paria attorney Gilbert Peterson SC said the chamber, which was attached to the sealine where four LMCS divers lost their lives on February 25, had somehow “ended up on the seabed” 60 feet under, while there were attempts to move it by LMCS.
At the CoE hearing at Tower D at the International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain, yesterday Peterson informed the Commission that his client, Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd, would like the chamber to be brought to the surface so it can be inspected by the Commission.
On Wednesday, the Commission conducted a site visit at Paria Fuel Trading Company’s Pointe-a-Pierre facility as part of its fact-finding mission into the incident.
The members were taken to No. 36 Sealine Riser on Berth No. 6 in the Gulf of Paria, one mile away from Paria’s facilities, where the incident occurred on February 25, 2022. The commission also visited Berth 5, the shipping building where Paria had established its incident command post, and the parking lot where families of the LMCS Ltd divers kept vigil for days after learning that the men were missing that evening.
The site visit was conducted by CoE chairman Jerome Lynch, KC, commissioner Gregory Wilson, attorney Ronnie Bissessar who is assisting counsel to the commission, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC, and 16 others, including media personnel. Peterson noted that now that the site visit is completed, Paria wants the chamber to be lifted from the sea bed but LMCS’ permission is needed.
“It will require LMCS’s consent because it’s their asset so to speak…In the event that they may not be inclined to expend the resources to bring it up, Paria is prepared to do it and make it available to the Commission for viewing and then to be handed back to LMCS as the case may be. But it is not desirable to have it sit where it’s at now,” said Peterson.
Commission chairman Jerome Lynch KC encouraged the move, saying it is a sensible idea.
“It’s not within my authority as you would appreciate; but it does seem to me wise and useful. I for my part would wish to see it, I know you’re determined to put me back into PPE with hard hats and boots, but I think it would make some sense, I see no reason why LMCS would wish to keep it at the bottom of the ocean and I can see no reason why you would want to keep it there either,” he said. Lynch said the ideal thing to do is for Paria and LMCS to agree on its extraction and for OSHA to be informed.