The boat, the MV Persia II, left Port-of-Spain on Thursday and made its first call in Grenada offloading cargo there. On Friday morning, the vessel set sail for Kingstown, St Vincent when it developed a leak and began to sink about nine miles off the coast of Grenada.
The nine-member crew were saved by the Grenada coast guard which made the rescue in choppy waters and amid strong winds.
Dry goods, valued in EC dollars, including grocery supplies for the month earmarked for hundreds of Vincentians were lost at sea.
According to St Vincent reports, every item sunk with the vessel at about 7.45 am on Friday.
Captained by Nicaraguan Hermongenes Watt, the MV Persia II began to take in water in rough sea conditions.
The nine-member crew made attempts to activate the pumps but they malfunctioned.
The captain radioed an emergency and the Grenada coast guard responded, but the coast guardsmen could not save the vessel which had taken in too much water by the time they had arrived.
They rescued the captain and crew and took them to Grenada.
Peter Oliviere of St Vincent-based Island Wide Shipping, which owns the vessel, in one report thanked the Grenada coast guard for their rescue.
“Island Wide Shipping is thankful to the coast guard of Grenada for saving all the lives of the crew members on board.
Island Wide Shipping is in the process of notifying customers who lost cargo as a result of this unfortunate incident.
The management and staff thanks all those who have sent messages, called or visited in this time of sadness,” he said.
Island Wide Shipping closed for business yesterday and will reopen tomorrow. St Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Saboto Caesar, reacting to incident, said the MV Persia II had served the island’s agriculture sector for many years with a high level of efficiency. In a Facebook post he said, “We are saddened by its destruction at sea earlier today.” Vincentians, some of them customers, also posted comments on Facebook. Cassandra Bruce wrote, “All my groceries gone.
This is not good news at all. Definitely (the vessel) served quite faithfully throughout the years.” In another post, Ollivierre McFee said, “I know that’s a loss that all traffickers are going to feel, especially those who lost their stuff today. Real sad news.” The MV Persia was built in the 1940s and had a cargo capacity of 247 tonnes. For more than 20 years, the vessel transported ground provisions and vegetables from St Vincent and other islands to Trinidad and Tobago weekly. Traders on-board bought dry foodstuffs, mattresses and small appliances in Trinidad to sell in Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines.