Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited (Paria) first and foremost extends sincere condolences to the families
and loved ones of Fazal Kurban, Rishi Nagassar, Yusuf Henry and Kazim Ali Jr, the four divers who so
tragically lost their lives following a work incident on Friday 25th February 2022, at Paria’s facility in
Pointe-à-Pierre. This has been a profound loss for the families, their employer LMCS Limited (LMCS),
Paria, and indeed, the entire country.
Understandably, there has been much said about this incident. Unfortunately, the majority of what has been
said with respect to the role of Paria, is not only inaccurate but also unjust. It is Paria’s considered view,
that it was not appropriate at any time prior, to engage in any discourse which would unnecessarily distract
from this tragedy and its impact on the families involved. However, given the decision by LMCS to issue
what can only be described as an unfortunate release, Paria is now compelled to provide clarity on
Since June 2021, LMCS has been engaged in the maintenance project with respect to the 30” pipeline
located at No. 36 Sealine Riser on Berth No. 6 at the Paria facility. Prior to the commencement of this
project, the said pipeline had been inactive – since even before Paria commenced operations in December
2018 – and it would remain inactive until the project was completed. It is therefore important to note that
there is no pipe connection mechanism, machinery, or equipment whatsoever connected to the section of
pipeline under repair, so nothing could have been switched on or activated by Paria, to change the
condition of the pipeline while the project was being undertaken by LMCS.
Friday’s incident occurred at around 2:45pm while five divers were working in LMCS’ hyperbaric chamber
and were being monitored by LMCS employees on a nearby barge when a splash was observed within
LMCS’s hyperbaric chamber and concurrently, video from the cameras within the chamber ceased
Upon being notified of the incident by LMCS, Paria immediately activated its Incident Management
Team. Paria also contacted emergency response organisations, including the Trinidad and Tobago Coast
Guard, the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service, Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSH), and the
South West Regional Health Authority. Dive support operators – Mitchell’s Professional Diving Services
Company Limited and Offshore Technology Solution Limited – were also contacted. Further assistance
was sought from Eastern Divers Company Limited. The external service providers arrived at various times
on Friday evening to assist with the rescue effort. The Commercial Diver Operations Supervisor from
Heritage Petroleum Company Limited was also on site to support the Incident Command Team.
Paria was informed by the owner of LMCS, Kazim Ali, that his company would notify the families of its
Approximately three hours after the start of the rescue operation, it was reported that a sound was heard
from inside the pipeline. Mr. Christopher Boodram, one of the five divers, was found in scuba gear as he
surfaced at the top of the pipeline within LMCS’s hyperbaric chamber. Mr. Boodram was pulled out from
the top of the pipeline by Mr. Michael Kurban, a diver who was assisting LMCS in its operations. Mr.
Boodram was stabilised and rushed to the hospital for treatment. Paria’s Incident Management Team was
informed of Mr. Boodram’s rescue at 5:45pm.
Paria was advised that Mr. Kurban entered the pipeline on more than one occasion in an attempt to locate
other divers and was only able to retrieve some diving equipment. No further divers were found.
Mr. Kurban later contemplated other entries which would have involved him proceeding further into the
pipeline. It was determined by Paria – and supported by the Coast Guard, and external experts – that it was
too dangerous for anyone to proceed further into the pipeline without posing significant risk to life. It is
important to note that the vertical drop from the hyperbaric chamber to the seabed is approximately 60 feet
within a 30” diameter pipe. By way of video footage from a remotely operated camera sent down into the
pipeline, it was discovered that at approximately 80 feet, tanks were wedged against the wall of the said
pipeline as it ran along the seabed creating an obstruction which prevented the remote camera from
proceeding any further and locating any of the divers.
With respect to the allegation that Paria was uncooperative during the rescue exercise, apart from what is
set out above, we acknowledge LMCS’ contribution to the Paria release of February 27th 2022, which reads
“We have been working closely with Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd. (Paria) from the beginning of
the incident to reach our divers. The Paria team has been fully supportive throughout this process and
continues to provide all its resources to support our efforts, including people, capability and equipment.”
With regard to informing the families of the deceased LMCS divers that the exercise had moved from a
rescue to a recovery operation, this was done by Paria’s management on Saturday 26th February 2022
between the hours of 6:00pm to 9:00pm.
Given the complexities and sensitivities associated with this incident, continued misinformation,
speculation and wild allegations only serve to further increase the trauma and hurt of all of those involved,
which includes the grieving families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives, along with those
who were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.
On Monday 28th February 2022, the Minister of Energy and Energy Industries announced that there would
be an independent investigation into this incident to ascertain the facts and the root cause of the incident.
Certainly, Paria will provide any and all of the relevant details, documentation and recordings, and
participate fully in the process. We ask that we all await the outcome of the investigations before arriving
at any further conclusions.
Paria wishes to express its very deep gratitude to all who participated in the very difficult rescue and later,
recovery exercise. We again unreservedly extend our deepest condolences and our thoughts are with the
families, colleagues and loved ones at this extremely devastating time.