The Lady Northcote which caught fire almost a month ago is back in operation and has already made a return trip to the North West District.
This is according to General Manager of the Transport and Harbours Department, Ms Marcelene Merchant. According to Ms. Merchant, the repairs on the vessel were successfully completed during the last week of March and the vessel has since made a return trip.
On March 28, last, the Lady Northcote left Port Georgetown around 10:00hrs en route to Port Kaituma, North West District.
In mid March around 16:00 hours, the Captain of the vessel was forced to contact officials at Port Georgetown for assistance to bring the vessel into the Transport and Harbours, Kingston Wharf, after fire broke out in the engine room.
Transport Minister Robeson Benn has said the fire was caused by a diesel leak.
“The vessel was entering Port Georgetown to moor at the goods wharf when there was a leak of diesel from a faulty valve on an exhaust manifold. That caught fire, burned the window of the pipes to the fuel tanks and the entire engine room caught a fire”.
Benn further explained that because of the leaking fuel on the one engine, the captain was forced to stop the second engine, hence the need for the boat to be towed to Port Georgetown.
However, all 45 passengers and 13 crew members were safe and no injury reported. A car which was on the deck on the vessel was slightly scorched.
He said that all of the passengers were fitted with life jackets as there was more than enough for everyone onboard.