Westmoreland cops probe boat capsizing

May 04, 2021
The thatched ‘party boat’ (left) that capsized off the Negril coastline on the weekend.
The thatched ‘party boat’ (left) that capsized off the Negril coastline on the weekend.

The Westmoreland police say a full probe is under way to determine if owners of a boat that capsized in the vicinity of Rick's Cafe in Negril last Saturday was in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA).

Viral videos purported to be of the boat, show that the vessel was packed with patrons. THE STAR was told that the vessel started to develop mechanical problems and immediately started to capsize, resulting in passengers jumping overboard. They were rescued by persons in two other vessels.

Superintendent Robert Gordon, commanding officer for the Westmoreland police, told THE STAR that the police have launched a full probe into the incident in collaboration with the Marine police. Gordon also indicated that based on the preliminary findings, a number of persons may find themselves being prosecuted for breaching the DRMA.

Ban on entertainment

"Some of the boats were identifiable by virtue of their markings, and we will be taking our investigations from that angle," he said. "Also, I can say nobody came forward to make any reports of any injury or anything." He further stated that based on video recordings, it would appear that an event was taking place on the boat.

"There is a ban on entertainment activities, so for persons still to be engaging in those form of activities, in any way, shape, or form, it is a breach," said Gordon, adding that the police have not yet identified the boat. "But based on what we saw, it would appear that the vessel docked in the vicinity of Rick's Cafe when it started to sink."

Gordon added "I don't want to make any form of determination now, but let us see where the investigations goes, and if the investigations take us to the findings that a party was being held, persons will be prosecuted."

President of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Richard Wallace, told THE STAR that he was very concerned about the incident.

"It is very sad to hear, very unfortunate, and happy that nobody was hurt in the incident," Wallace stated. "We hope the operators were not operating in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act, and also that they would ensure that whatever mistakes were made are not repeated."

Other News Stories