Published On: Wed, Aug 7th, 2013

Family wants answers about dead Guyanese sailor

vessels_picRelatives of a 48-year-old Guyanese sailor who died on a vessel last week in Curaçao do not feel satisfied with the explanation being given by the company he worked with. Dead is Orlando Allen of John Street, Campbellville.

According to the man’s wife Debra Allen, her husband left Guyana on July 23rd. Kaieteur News was told that the man was employed with the Prichard-Gordon Tankers Limited, a London-based Company. This was Allen’s third trip with the company.
The woman told Kaieteur News that her husband’s destination was Curaçao. She said that he had been in-transit in Trinidad and Tobago for quite some time before boarding another flight to Barbados. She further recounted that on July 24 her husband joined the vessel in Barbados.

According to the woman, her husband called her while he was on board the vessel at Barbados and said that he was leaving for Curaçao. On the Saturday morning (July 27), the woman said her husband called and spoke to her, and that was around 6:15 am. She said that her husband never made any complaints. She said that he promised to call her before he left for Suriname. She explained that the vessel had to transport fuel to Suriname.

Later on July 27, around 10:30, the woman said she received a telephone call from the country representative Ms. Marcelle August, informing her that her husband had collapsed and died. “She called and asked me when last I spoke with my husband and I told her earlier in the morning, and then she told me he had collapsed in the engine room and died,” the woman told Kaieteur News.

Mrs. Allen said she was dumbfounded by the message since her husband was in perfect health. She said that he had done a complete medical for the company prior to his departure. Later in the day the woman said that the captain for the vessel called her. She said that she was told that her husband had gone into the engine room and was found on the floor, not breathing.

She said that on July 29 the head for personnel for the company, Nick Whalen, called the family. The woman said the man told her that her husband had collapsed among his colleagues in the engine room. She said that Whalen also said that CPR was performed on her husband, but he had still passed away.

Mrs. Allen said she asked to witness the post mortem examination and the company denied her the opportunity. As the family here in Guyana waited for the results of the post mortem to be done, they received an email from the company stating that it would not be performed anymore. The wife said that this was becuse a doctor in Curaçao said that her husband died of natural causes. The company told relatives that they would be providing them with US$1000 to help with burial.

The woman said she then asked whether the family could pay for it (Post Mortem) to be done. She said that she suggested that the company take US$600 from the initial US$1000 and pay for the post mortem. Kaieteur News was told by the wife that the family was promised a copy of the report. However the woman said that the company “switched out from that arrangement”, after claiming that the document was in “Dutch” and that they needed several weeks to translate it. Further suspicion was raised after the company again contacted the family and asked about what burial clothes they wanted for the dead man.

Allen’s wife said that she asked why they wanted to find out, and was told that they needed to find out because once the dead was placed in the casket for Guyana it could not be opened again. Kaieteur News was told that relatives went to the Director of Public Prosecutions who forwarded them to the Criminal Investigations Department. The wife said she gave the police a statement. According to the woman, the police said that they would be sending whatever information they have to Interpol.

The family also visited the Foreign Affairs Ministry to garner support. The body, according to the wife, is expected to be transported to Suriname on Thursday and then will enter Guyana on Saturday. It is unclear whether the family will seek to do another post mortem here since the body would already be embalmed. According to the man’s wife, he had been a sailor for the last 20 years.

By Latoya Giles

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