T&T Salvage team heading to wrecked barge in Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Energy and Energy Industries and Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young, centre, is briefed by the T&T Salvage team at the ministry’s office in Port of Spain on February 21. – Photo courtesy the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries

T&T Salvage experts are on their way to Tobago to begin phase one of their response to the oil spill.

An overturned barge – the Gulfstream – was found lodged on a reef near Cove on February 7, and has been polluting Tobago’s south-western coast with a “diesel-like” substance.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries has been collaborating with the Tobago House of Assembly and the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) in the clean-up efforts.

A Ministry of Energy release on February 21 said, Henry Kevin Teichman, CEO of T&T Salvage LLC, led a high-level briefing which included Minister of Energy Stuart Young and other officials, on the execution of response efforts targeted at the overturned vessel and hydrocarbon discharge.

T&T Salvage and US-based QT Environmental Inc have partnered to aid in the ongoing on-water oil recovery, survey, and plans to conduct cargo lightering and wreck removal.

The response team comprises a salvage master, naval architect and Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) divers with experience in low- to zero-visibility diving. Sonar technology will also be arriving in Tobago to execute the required emergency response.

Dive gear, hydrographic survey equipment and NOFI Current Busters (used in demanding environmental conditions, including high currents) are being flown in from the US and Europe.

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine recently revealed that the flow of the oily substance has slowed considerably and divers have been tasked to finding the International Maritime Organization (IMO) number, which will help to determine the vessel’s owner.

A Ministry of National Security release said the Gulfstream was bring towed to Guyana by a tug boat, the Solo Creed. The latter is yet to be found.

Young said that the effective recovery of the hydrocarbons and restoration of Tobago’s coastline is paramount.