On July 17, 2012 officers of the Barbados Coast Guard (BCG) were forced to “discharge fire” at the engine of a fleeing pirogue in order to disable it.
When the vessel, which had no navigational lights, came to a stop the officer removed four men and 33 polythene bags, containing suspected cannabis, off the sinking boat.
Coast Guard Officer Pierre Ottley gave that evidence when the drug case against Anderson Bridgeman, of Belleplaine Housing Area, St Andrew began before a nine-member jury in the No 2 Supreme Court today.
Bridgeman, who is represented by Arthur Holder, Rhea Layne, Nkasi Blair, Maria Arthur and Einsley Grainger, is on trial on charges of possession, trafficking and importation of 632. 5 kilogrammes of cannabis in the incident nine years ago.
In the matter prosecuted by Senior Crown Counsel Olivia Davis, officer Ottley told the jury he piloted the Barbados Coast Guard vessel, accompanied by two ordinary seamen, to about six nautical miles off Harrison’s Point, St Lucy around 1:45 a.m. as a result of information received.
On arrival there he observed a vessel heading in an easterly direction without navigational lights. He then piloted his vessel to about 15 feet of the vessel and spotted lights towards it. However the vessel immediately sped away heading away from land. He gave chase.
During that time he ordered one of the ordinary seamen to discharge a warning shot towards the vessel but it did not stop. The order for the disabling fire followed soon after.
“The vessel came to a stop about 6.5 nautical miles off North Point, St Lucy,” Ottley disclosed. “It had four men onboard. The vessel immediately started taking on water and started to sink. I ordered the accused men to get onboard . . . and they did. The seamen collected a total of 33 bags from the water.”
Ottley said he then piloted his vessel back to base where investigations commenced. Ordinary seaman Damien Gittens gave similar evidence. Three police officers also gave evidence on behalf of the Crown.
The case continues on Wednesday, June 9.