Title: Oil Spill Woes
The views expressed below are those of the author, Gary Aboud. They may or may not represent those of TAJ 92.3FM
“It appears as though the oil was spilled was from a rig.” The company officials operating the rig are so far, “being co-operative.” This is what the Minister of Planning and Development, the Hon. Camille Robinson-Regis stated last Tuesday, 17th October, 2017.
A seasoned Cabinet member knows the importance of reliable and factual information when making public statements, especially in matters of wide public interest. The two lead agencies investigating the oil spill are the Environment Management Authority (EMA) and the Institute of Martine Affairs (IMA) – both report directly to this Minister of Planning and the Environment. Contradicting the Minister like a comedy, the IMA and the EMA are now, 5 days after the Minister’s confirmation, claiming that they still have not identified the culprit? What information guided the Hon Minister’s revelation and why this apparent IMA/EMA back-stepping?
Since there is only one oil rig in close vicinity to the Chaguaramas oil spill, FFOS assumes the informed Minister could only be referring to the “ROWAN EXL II” which British Petroleum (BPTT) contracted from ROWAN Companies INC (of Texas,USA) for its drilling operations in south-east Trinidad. It arrived recently and was moored approximately 3/4 mile south-west of Williams Bay where it was to be serviced and extended by a newly incorporated local company, ARTEMIS ENERGY LTD., under contract from ROWAN.*
According to the rig owners website, the rig has a capacity of 939 Barrels of Base Oil and 3704 Barrels of Diesel among other stored fuels and toxic liquids.
We must lift the secrecy veil. Were each of the different storage tanks on the EXL II fingerprinted by our local investigators? Were the tanks empty or full? Why are the investigative and fingerprinting reports guarded and secret? FFOS have knowledge of official reports that have been falsified in the past and urge transparency and a firm and fair enforcement of the Law.
Contrary to the Hon Minister of Energy feeble plea that we do not have Laws, FFOS point the unknowing Minister to read the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 which dictates a strict liability standard for damage from oil spills and even establishes criminal sanctions including mandatory incarceration for irresponsible and negligent culprits. Unless there is social justice for our people by the firm enforcement of Law, the foundation of our democracy will continue to crumble.
Ashamed and disturbed,
Fishermen and Friends of the Sea