When nobody cares about the oil spill in the Gulf of Paria

When an environment disaster is not even mentioned by “mainstream media.” Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd yesterday confirmed an oil spill in the Gulf of Paria.
08/12/2021
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The Environmental Management Authority and Paria Fuel Trading Company Ltd yesterday confirmed an oil spill in the Gulf of Paria.

“Not-Funny-Enough” mainstream media “forgot to mention this. Maybe because it’s not newsworthy? Only 6 results on Google and all from Trinidad Express Newspaper and Trinidad Guardian.

An additional cost for our environment is the use of Corexit, which is more toxic than the oil itself.

Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) corporate secretary Gary Aboud boarded a pirogue yesterday and went to the scene of the spill. He posted several videos on his Facebook page.

Aboud said the oil spill was in the vicinity of the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, stretching all the way to Claxton Bay.

In a statement Paria said that an oil sheen along the Pointe-a-Pierre harbour was discovered around 7.30 p.m. on Saturday by the company’s marine security.

Drenched IN oil: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea’s Gary Aboud, right, and other members of the Carli Bay Fishing Association hold two oil-drenched pelicans on Sunday after a site visit in the Gulf of Paria in the vicinity of Pointe-a-Pierre where an oil spill was seen on Saturday. —Photo: CINDY RAGHUBAR TEEKERSINGH
Drenched IN oil: Fishermen and Friends of the Sea’s Gary Aboud, right, and other members of the Carli Bay Fishing Association hold two oil-drenched pelicans on Sunday after a site visit in the Gulf of Paria in the vicinity of Pointe-a-Pierre where an oil spill was seen on Saturday. —Photo: CINDY RAGHUBAR TEEKERSINGH

PARIA Fuel Trading Company Ltd (Paria) on Sunday said clean-up continues after its marine security observed an oil sheen along the Pointe-a-Pierre harbour on Saturday night.

In a release, the company said its incident command team was activated and personnel were immediately dispatched to locate the source of the leak. A further sea survey, which was done during the early morning of Sunday, discovered areas of oil sheen and oil streaks north of the Pointe-a-Pierre port. 

A shoreline survey has also been done, the release said.

“Paria has responded urgently to deploy clean-up assets to minimise the impact on the environment. Absorbent booms have been strategically placed to prevent further migration of oil into the sea. Vacuum trucks are being utilised to remove oil collected on land and oil streaks continue to be mechanically broken up at sea,” the company said.

It added that the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries and the Paria leadership team visited the sites at 2 pm on Sunday, and the other regulatory authorities have been notified of the incident as is procedure.

“Paria continues to monitor the situation at sea and on land and the incident command team is monitoring and addressing all aspects of this incident. A comprehensive investigation will be undertaken to determine the root cause of the spill.”

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) also said it was investigating reports of the oil spill. In a statement, the EMA said Paria informed it of streaks of oil in the Guaracara River resulting from a line that leaked crude oil into the river.

The EMA said Paria’s report said containment measures were taken to mitigate the spill.

“The EMA has been advised that mostly a sheen was observed in the Gulf of Paria and vessels were used to mechanically break up the sheen. Paria Fuel Trading is still establishing the volume of oil spilled.”

It said its emergency response and investigating unit was liaising with the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) and will continue to co-ordinate with all relevant agencies and stakeholders investigating this report.

In a separate release, Pointe-A-Pierre MP David Lee said reports from the group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) of the oil spill in the Gulf of Paria, specifically near the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery extending to Claxton Bay, were extremely concerning.

“As the MP for the affected area, I am calling on the Minister of Energy to not only inform the public on the cause and extent of this oil spill but to ensure quick action as well as all needed contingency plans are implemented forthwith.

“Failure to act can have catastrophic effects not only on the surrounding environment but also on the fishing industry of the Claxton Bay Community which utilises this area as a vital source of income and food supply.”

He said the issue must not turn into a crisis.

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