CLEMENT WILLIAMS / AFP
In Trinidad and Tobago, the sinking of a mysterious ship causes a worrying oil spill as you can see in this image taken in Rockly Bay on February 10, 2024.
ENVIRONMENT- Panic by the sea as the tourist season prepares to be in full swing in Trinidad and Tobago. A state of national emergency has just been declared there due to a huge oil spill caused last week by the sinking of an unidentified ship. This is still not “not under control”, warned this Sunday, February 11, the head of government of this Caribbean archipelago. Something to worry locals and tourists.
Since Thursday, hundreds of volunteers have been working to try to contain the progression of the thick oil stain, but that is not enough. This ecological disaster affected many tourist resorts and hotels in Tobago and contaminated approximately 15 km of coastline.
The government therefore appealed for more people to join the volunteers. Authorities also asked tourists not to approach contaminated areas. “Cleaning and rehabilitation can only begin when the situation is under control. For the moment, it is not »declared Prime Minister Keith Rowley at a press briefing.
Divers were unable to plug the leak from the ship, which is approximately 100 meters long. The traditional children’s carnival has been canceled in Scarborough, the capital of Tobago, because of numerous oil stains polluting the coast there, as you can see in the images below. Several hotels and resorts in Tobago, such as the state-owned Magdalena Grand, were affected.
No signs of life on the ship
While the government and residents struggle to stop the spread of the oil spill, Trinidad and Tobago also faces another problem: obtaining information on the ship responsible for the oil spill. The Tobago Disaster Management Agency (TEMA) has reported that there are no signs of life on the mysterious boat whose hull displays the name “Gulfstream”. The building remains an enigma, with no identified flag or emergency calls sent by the crew on the day of the sinking.
“We were unable to identify the vessel by name or registration number”Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Farley Augustine, told reporters. “We don’t know who owns this boat. We have no idea where it came from, nor do we know what’s in it.”insisted Keith Rowley, without excluding that the boat could have been used for trafficking.
“We do not know if it is a cargo ship, an oil tanker or a barge because only the keel is visible and its physical elements allowing it to be identified are underwater, in an inaccessible location for the moment”added Keith Rowley.
Initially, it was supposed to transport sand and wood. The boat, which capsized off the coast of the Cove Eco-Industry Park, south of Tobago, was then swept ashore by currents.
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