PM: Tobago coastline cleaned of 50,000 barrels of oil

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo of the cleanup efforts of the oil spill in Tobago earlier this year. – Photo courtesy THA

THE Prime Minister says approximately 50,000 barrels of liquid cargo spilt from the barge Gulfstream, which overturned on a reef off Tobago, have been removed from the shoreline in that area.

Dr Rowley was responding to a question from Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh in the House of Representatives on April 19.

Rowley gave MPs a brief recap of the events which led up to the spill off Tobago’s southwest coast on February 7. He said clean-up operations are ongoing and as such, no final cost can be attributed to these activities.

Shortly after the incident happened, he continued, Heritage Petroleum Ltd “was tasked with the major responsibility of dealing with the spill.”

This involved the company’s deploying equipment and personnel to Tobago.

“The bottom line is that while the spill is now abated, the operation of clean-up continues.”

Rowley said experts estimate that the Gulfstream still has some liquid cargo on board.

He added that once weather and sea conditions allow, efforts will be made at the first opportunity to extract that cargo safely from the Gulfstream.

“In terms of the clean-up, approximately 50,000 barrels of liquid waste have been extracted from the shoreline between Scarborough and Cove, and the operation continues.”

On April 12, Energy Minister Stuart Young responded to a similar question from Indarsingh in the House.

Young said the ministry had retained the services of Trinidad and Tobago Salvage Inc and QT Environmental Services Inc, and both had the international experience to do survey and sampling activities, remove the barge’s remaining liquid inventory and refloat it.

He added this exercise would take approximately 30 days.

“The latest estimates are that a total of 34,000 barrels (of liquid) is still on board.”

Young said efforts to find the owners of the Gulfstream and the tugboat Solo Creed, which was reportedly towing the Gulfstream, were ongoing.