Monday, October 23, 2006

EMA issues oil spill warning

By Shaliza Hassanali
Trinidad Guardian
October 23, 2006

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) is warning that any person or company responsible for the Chaguaramas oil spill will feel the full brunt of the law.

The warning came yesterday from Alicia Charles, EMA’s communications specialist, as the organisation continued remedial work along the western peninsula coastline, in wake of a massive oil spill.

The spill was caused after a 500-foot long derelict tanker, the Kelly’s Mark, which was anchored behind Caribbean Dockyard for more than 15 years, started to sink on Tuesday after developing a small leak.

By Wednesday morning, half of the rusty boat, which had submerged, started to spill oil.
Charles said the EMA was yet to locate and speak with the owner/s of the boat.
“Anyone found guilty of breaching the environmental laws will face the full brunt of the law.

“We will deal with this matter very seriously,” a no-nonsense Charles said.

Charles said the EMA had done extensive remedial work, these past three days, to bring the beach back to its original state.

Close to 100 bags of peat moss and several gallons of Simple Green, known as biodegradable and non-toxic chemicals, were thrown into the sea to separate the oil from the water.

“We are trying to prevent the oil from spreading.”

Charles said water samples were taken by the Institute of Marine Affairs for testing.

“All we knew is that the oil came from the engine room of the boat.

“We don’t know if it’s engine oil. These tests will determine this.”

She also explained that officials of the EMA also toured Chaguaramas on Thursday and heard the complaints of yachties and fishermen, whose boats were affected by the oil.

“Their main concern was compensation. I can’t say who is responsible for that.”


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