Trinidad: Fisherman Dies After Vessels Collide

(TT GUARDIAN) – A Moruga family and the fishing community there are questioning how two pirogues managed to collide in open waters, which led to the death of veteran fisherman Leston “Mumble Jack” Douglas yesterday.

A police report stated that Douglas, 62, of L’Anse Mitan Road, Gran Chemin, and his common-law wife Appolonia Caesar, 35, were fishing in his 27-foot pirogue, Humming Bird, just off Marac.

Around 12.30 am, another pirogue, “Libra,” captained by a 44-year-old Moruga fisherman, collided with their vessel.

The Humming Bird began to sink sending Douglas and Caesar into the water. The Libra’s captain managed to rescue the couple taking them onto his pirogue.

When Moruga police officers WPC Bobcombe and PC Ward arrived at the scene, they saw Emergency Medical Technicians attempting to resuscitate Douglas on the shore. However, he remained unresponsive and was eventually declared dead.

One fisherman told Guardian Media he heard that low lighting was the issue, but another fisherman said Douglas always went to sea at night with a light on his pirogue. Fishermen said the light allows the captain and crew to locate each other.

Outside Douglas’ home yesterday, his son Elvan Douglas said, based on the information he got, his father was retracting his fishing net from the water when the collision occurred. Therefore, he would have needed a light to see what he was pulling.

“I find it very hard to believe. Knowing my father, he is a man of order. Everything he does, he keeps a record. If he goes to the hardware and buys 100 blocks, he writes it down. If he sells 200 lbs of fish, he writes it down. He was a man who liked to keep everything in order, from gas and engine to boat and net,” Elvan said.

Elvan said his father had been fishing all his life, and he even accompanied him twice. Elvan smiled as he recalled the large catch they made. However, he could not make frequent trips with his father because of seasickness.

Elvan said he was awaiting the results of an autopsy before determining his next steps.

Meanwhile, the Humming Bird remains at sea, somewhere around Marac.