Over 50,000 barrels of oil collected after cleaning up oil spill in Tobago

As 50,000 barrels of oil were collected after cleaning up the oil spill that occurred on the 7th of February 2024, Chief Secretary of Tobago Farley Augustine said that more is locked in the Gulf Stream vessel.

Over 50,000 barrels of oil collected after cleaning up oil spill in Tobago
Over 50,000 barrels of oil collected after cleaning up oil spill in Tobago

Tobago: As 50,000 barrels of oil were collected after cleaning up the oil spill that occurred on the 7th of February 2024, Chief Secretary of Tobago Farley Augustine said that more is locked in the Gulf Stream vessel.

The Chief Secretary stated that approximately 20,000 barrels of liquid waste were still inside the vessel indicating that they are working to remove it.  He said after extracting it safely, they are going to concentrate on removing the vessel altogether, which needs to happen before moving to the salvaging phase.

Augustine informed the public that the salvaging team had drilled through 12 chamber levels inside the vessel, indicating that there may be more fuel than expected. He noted that it is delicate work and that they are taking the necessary precautions.

Concerning the cost of the overall effort to treat the issue, he said the THA is looking into dealing with some of those payments on their own while anticipating the central government’s allocation, which the Prime Minister promised to treat within an unforeseen event.

The Ministry of Planning and Development of Tobago added that the authorities have cleared the 480 lands, freshwater, and coastal wildlife and returned safety to the people. The ministry added that the government has been taking proactive measures to ensure the safety and speedy recovery of the areas and their efforts have turned out to be a major success.

Further, the Ministry also highlighted the five areas of focus which included Salvage operations, Ecosystem vulnerability, oiled wildlife response, marine food security, and waste remediation. They added that the ministry commenced the operations to pump oil safety off the vessel “Gulfstream”.

They also visited the eco-sensitive site, Petit Trou mangrove wetland, and added that the discussion has also started on implementing marine management to mitigate any disaster. Further, they have started work on rescuing animals who came into contact with the oil, with measures such as establishing the command centre in the location.

The open discussions have also started with fisherfolk which were temporarily located at Shaw Park Food Hub which aimed to sustain the livelihoods, and the facilitation of the fish sampling. The visit to the Studley Park Landfill also featured a discussion about waste management and plans for waste transformation and remediation.