Limerick mother claims company kept husband from rescuing son in diving tragedy

Limerick Mother Claims Company Kept Husband From Rescuing Son In Diving Tragedy Limerick Mother Claims Company Kept Husband From Rescuing Son In Diving Tragedy
Kazim Ali Jr, who died in the accident, his daughter Adeamur (4), and wife Jamie Ali.
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David Raleigh

A grieving Limerick mother has told a Commission of Enquiry into the death of her son that her husband was prevented from rescuing him from drowning in a subsea pipeline.

Catherine Ali, from Roxboro Road, said that her husband, Kaz Ali Sr, and others were prevented from carrying out a rescue by a Trinidad and Tobago state-owned fuel trading company in charge of the pipeline.

Ms Ali, who now lives on the Caribbean island nation, is the mother of Kazim Ali Jr - who along with three other divers - drowned in a 30-inch pipe, owned by the Paria Fuel Trading Company, at Point-a-Pierre, Trinidad and Tobago, after the divers were sucked into the pipe on February 25th, 2022.

A fifth diver, Christopher Boodram, escaped the pipe and immediately called for a rescue saying the others were injured but alive.


Lawyers representing some of the victims families have claimed the divers died in the pipe due to inaction and delay by Para - a claim refuted by the company.

The five divers were employed by LMCS Ltd, a company owned by Catherine Ali’s husband, who had jointly run the business with their son Kazim Jr, an Irish citizen, and which was contracted to perform the pipe works.

The bodies of Kazim Ali Jr, Yusuf Henry and Fyzal Kurban were recovered on February 28th, while the body of Rishi Nagassar was recovered on March 2nd, five days after the incident.

A state autopsy found Kazim Ali Jr may have been alive as late as midnight February 26th, however a second autopsy, organised by the Ali family, found that he may have been alive until around midnight, February 27th.

'Distress calls'

In her evidence Catherine Ali said some of the divers communicated “distress calls” from inside the pipeline by tapping on it “well into Saturday 26th February, demonstrating proof of life”.

Despite “several dive vessels and volunteer divers” travelling to the site “to render assistance to rescue the men from the pipe, Paria still refused to allow rescue”.

“In desperation LMCS workers contacted the media to agitate and pressure Paria to take, or allow, action,” added Ms Ali.


LMCS offered Paria three rescue plans across “Saturday, Sunday and Monday” but Paria continued to seek rescue dive permits as well as further clarity about the rescue plans.

“Paria's multiple decisions to violate the right to human life and the right not to be subjected to cruel and inhuman suffering, remain unconscionable,” Ms Ali said.

Paria’s “deliberate delay, generated friction, anguish and torture” for the men and their families, she added.

“Kaz and his father were very close and proudly ran LMCS together, it was wrong to bar a father from saving his son.”

“Paria's process lacked justice and integrity, there was no leadership, preparedness or morality in Paria's decisions that killed four LMCS men who waited excruciatingly in the pipe until they could breathe no more.”

Catherine Ali giving evidence before the Commission of Inquiry into the events that led to the death of her son Kazim Ali Jr and three others divers.

Senior Counsel to the Commission, Ramesh L Maharaj, submitted Paria had a “non-delegable common law duty of care, to ensure that measures were put in place for the works to have been done safely”.

LMCS supplied Paria with documents explaining how it intended to perform the works, risk assessments, job safety analysis and an emergency response plan, but neither LMCS or Paria identified a risk of a “Delta P Hazard” which it was agreed ultimately caused the divers to be sucked into the pipe.


Mr Maharaj said LMCS’s documents were “reviewed and accepted by Paria but Paria in its evidence before this Commission admitted that it did not have the competence and expertise to do so”.

Paria “did not appoint an Expert Client Representative to assist it in that review”.

Mr Maharah submitted that Paria “squandered” hours between February 25 and February 26 which he said was “the time period in which the men were most likely alive, and as each hour passed the possibility that they were alive became less and less likely”.

Senior Counsel for Paria, Gilbert Peterson submitted that “while some may take the view that Paria should have handled matters differently, and although there may well be room for divergent views as to what Paria should and should not have done, the actions Paria took were entirely reasonable in the light of the range of options open to it”.

The Ali family on a visit to Limerick in 2014. (L-R): Kate Ali (London), Catherine Ali (Limerick, Trinidad & Tobago), Sinead Ali (Trinidad), Kaz Ali Sr (Trinidad), Fiona (Cork), Kazim Ali Jr. Photo courtesy of Ali family.

Mr Peterson argued that there was “no reasonable basis for Paria to be faulted and/or bear any liability” for what happened.

Paria “took reasonable steps to satisfy itself that, LMCS was a competent and well-established, specialist contractor, with the requisite knowledge, skill and experience in successfully executing works of a similar nature”, he said.


Paria was also not at fault or liable for “the information and specialist advice provided to it by LMCS prior to and during the course of executing the works”, Peterson added.

Acting for LMCS, Kamini Persaud-Maraj, Attorney at Law, submitted that Paria was “peddling a narrative” in an attempt “to shift the duty of care, from itself to be squarely on LMCS Limited” - and this narrative “ought to be rejected”.

There was a “systemic failure of Paria” and the company “admitted to knowing of its option of hiring a project engineer/consultant who would have had the requisite expertise to advise in the execution of this contract, but it chose not to.”


“Saving the dollar for the cost of lives. That is what this decision comes down to,” Mr Persaud-Maraj submitted.

The evidence heard by the Commission had shown that “Paria prevented LMCS Ltd from executing rescue plans that were continuously modified as more resources and information came to hand”, he said.

“Instead of acting on proof of life, Paria chose to discredit the knocking heard emanating from the pipe, saying it was noise from equipment running a distance of a quarter mile away”.

Mr Persaud-Maraj said Ali Sr’s meetings with Paria “to plead for rescue” were “not treated with any seriousness or thought”.

The Commission of Inquiry, chaired by Kings Counsel Jerome Lynch, has retired to consider the evidence and is due to present a final report to the President of Trinidad and Tobago by April 30th, 2023.

Speaking after giving her testimony Catherine Ali told this reporter: “I am hopeful the Commission has worked to uncover the truth, that in itself is a victory.”

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