…after ramp malfunctionsPassengers travelling on the MV Sabanto, which plies the Parika-Essequibo Coast route were forced two spend almost two hours onboard the vessel after arriving at Parika on Saturday. This situation arose after there was a mechanical malfunction of the ferry’s ramp.Speaking with Guyana Times, a passenger said the ferry left Supenaam at 14:00h on Saturday for Parika. However, upon arrival at Parika, the ramp malfunctioned forcing all the passengers to stay onboard.According to another passenger, while the situation was unavoidable, there was no proper communication between the ferry staff and passengers, causing some persons to panic. The passengers said some persons became irritable since the vessel’s staff were most unhelpful. Another passenger told this publication, that the Transport and Harbours Department should train its staff on vessels how to communicate with persons on board in the cases of emergencies.“Clearly from what happened here today (Saturday), the staff wasn’t trained for these types of incidents,” a passenger said.Meanwhile, other passengers lamented the poor condition of the ferries plying the route.“We are calling on the T&HD to pay more attention, especially this time of the year, the holiday season when passengers and cargo will be moving to and from. The toilets on both ferries are in a deplorable state and passengers sometimes have to wait until they reach one of the ports before easing themselves,” a passenger said.On November 30, 2017, an alarming amount of water accumulated in the lower deck of the MV Sabanto as the vessel was plying its regular route from Parika to Supenaam during high tide. Panic erupted on board the ship as fear began to spread that the vessel was on the verge of sinking in the Essequibo River. Although the vessel’s operators were unable to identify the source of the influx of water, they managed to complete the journey to Supenaam.In July 2016, the MV Sabanto collided with the Supenaam Stelling, causing extensive damage to the ferry. The crash resulted in severe damage to the back of the vessel and sections of the stelling.Guyana Times had reported that persons on board the vessel began to panic. Eyewitnesses described the situation at the stelling as “chaotic.”T&HD had subsequently launched a probe after it was reported that staff on board the vessel were under the influence.