Lynch Grills Paria Employee

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By Sue-Ann Wayow
IF at any stage in work operations being conducted by a contractor, that the contractor engages in operations not outlined in the work permit, Paria Fuel Trading Company should exercise authority to stop the works if necessary.

This is according to Chair of the Commission of Enquiry (CoE) Jerome Lynch, KC.

Lynch in his interrogation of Paria’s Offshore Operations Team Supervisor Johnathan Ramdhan on Tuesday asked if that could be a recommendation that the CoE should make at the end of the enquiry.

The CoE is tasked with the investigation into the deaths of four underwater divers on February 25, 2022, who were all employees of LMCS, the company subcontracted to do maintenance works at Paria’s Sealine Riser Berth #6 when they were sucked into a pipeline connecting to Berth #5.

According to Paria’s work instructions for the clearing of the pipeline located at Berths #5 and #6, Paria’s Terminal Operations Manager had oversight of the job and to ensure that the Offshore Team Lead understands the requirements of the work instruction.

The Offshore Team Lead was to ensure that thOperations Team Supervisor understood the requirements of the work instruction.

Lynch asked if something not approved on the work permit was to be done would Ramdhan want to know.

He referred to the removal of the barriers which was not stated on the work permit.

“If it was happening that they were taking these barriers off on that day, would you want to know that?” Lynch asked.

Ramdhan said, “Yes.”

Lynch asked what would Ramdhan do to which he responded, he would stop the works.

Ramdhan  then went on to state that the contractor had a responsibility and a duty which Lynch said he understood.

Ramdhan said  while he would be aware of what was stated in the work permit, the contractor official would be the main person monitoring the actual works being conducted.

Lynch said, “I get that, but what you are saying is that you want to put a fox in charge of a henhouse. If the reality is the contractor is the one doing the job and you’ve got the contractor overseeing his own work, his own people, if he thinks he is doing the right thing, if nobody is going to stop him…”

Ramdhan repeated that the contractor supposed to know what his responsibilities.

Lynch also said he understood that.

“What I want to know is, is there any way in which you, not you personally, your team or anyone in Paria is keeping an eye on what’s being done whether there is a violation of the work permit. So that you can exercise your right and duty to stop the works where it goes beyond what is being permitted?”

Ramdhan then pointed to the contractor official responsibilities.

According to his responsibilities, if anything changed, Paria was supposed to be notified essentially him, “in order to stop the work.”

Lynch asked, “That’s what you rely on is it?”

“Yes”, Ramdhan replied.

“You think that’s enough?”, Lynch further asked.

“Well that is the system”, Ramdhan said.

“I appreciate that was the system at the time, do you think it is enough?” Lynch again asked.

Ramdhan said, “Based on our system yes.”

Lynch then asked, “Now, knowing what has happened as you presumably do, do you think that merits any change?”

Pausing before he answered, Ramdhan replied yes that it does merit some change.

He also said that everything was not perfect to which Lynch agreed to.

“Everything does improve with time,” Ramdhan said.

LMCS’s HSSE’s manager Ahmad Ali, also testified during the CoE’s hearing at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port-of-Spain.

Ali is the nephew of LMCS owner Kazim Ali Sr and cousin of one of the divers who died, Kazim Ali Jr. 


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