Worst Bridge accident in 5 years
A bizarre incident involving an overseas registered vessel has closed off marine traffic. The management of the Harbour Bridge is yet to determine why the captain of the fuel tanker made an unusual move and slammed the bridge out of position.
After noon today, management of the Demerara Harbour Bridge and the Maritime Administration along with other relevant authorities tried to access the extent of the damage to the bridge after Sunday morning’s accident. Just before sunrise, the Guyanese captain of this vessel was given orders to proceed when the bridge retracted to allow vessels to cross. But just then, General Manager of the Bridge company explained that the supervisor on duty at the time observed something very strange.
Shortly after, the vessel hit the second cluster of piles, and as a result, today, this stump is what remains of those two cluster piles, both now being beneath water as a result of the impact of the vessel. Two pontoons were also damaged, along with other components of the bridge. There is no indication yet how much the repairs works would cost, but the focus now is on getting the bridge back into normal working condition.
Repair works are scheduled for Wednesday evening starting from 10 in the night to 4 in the morning. During that time, the bridge will be closed for vehicular traffic. As a result of the accident, the management of the bridge has been hesitant to operate the retractor span over fears it might not fit into position properly when closed and that could close off all traffic across the bridge. As a result, the retractor span remains in place to allow vehicular traffic and would only be open until Thursday when repairs are complete to allow vessels to pass.
The vessel has been seized as investigations continue and is now docked at a terminal on the East Bank of Demerara.
The Guyanese captain is being questions as martime authorities try to determine why he made the decisions he did and slammed into the bridge. The agent for the vessel was the Guyana National Shipping Corporation and it is expected that the owners of the vessel would have to bear the cost of the repairs to the bridge.