IMA: Oil in Tobago spill is bunker fuel

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Remnants of the oil spill scar the shoreline of the Scarborough waterfront, in Tobago on February 10. – Photo by Corey Connelly

The Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) has identified the oil that has been seeping out of the partially sunken mystery boat off Tobago’s southeastern shoreline as “intermediate fuel oil.”

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries shared the information in a release sent to the media on Friday.

It said the reports were generated from samples taken from three affected areas including the shoreline at Canoe Bay, 200 metres from the vessel, and near the vessel.

The fingerprinting analysis of the samples was done using a method called gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, which separates the components of a mixture and characterises each one individually to evaluate a sample containing a number of organic compounds.

The samples taken in Tobago identified characteristics of refined oil, also known as bunker fuel, which is used by marine vessels.

In a separate release, the ministry said Energy Minister Stuart Young and executives of the ministry were briefed by CEO of T&T Salvage LLC Henry Kevin Teichman and other executives on clean-up efforts.

After the briefing, Young, along with permanent secretary Penelope Bradshaw-Niles and the T&T Salvage Team, went to Tobago to begin work on the first phase of their response and to collaborate with the teams on the ground.

Dive gear, hydrographic survey equipment and NOFI Current Busters are being flown from the US and Europe to Tobago.

On February 7 the THA and Coast Guard got reports of oil coming from an overturned shipwreck off the southern coast of the Cove, Tobago.

Clean-up crews were eventually able to contain the spill.

A packet of illicit narcotics were later discovered near the shipwreck.