Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 25th 2017 Contents A4 news
guardian.co.tt Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Ruptured tank spills 20,000 gallons of oil
Close to 20,000 gallons of bun-
ker fuel from Petrotrin seeped into
the Guaracara River on Sunday
from a ruptured storage tank.
Yesterday, company officials de-
ployed several booms to contain the
oil blackened the water, birds and fish.
During a tour of the area yesterday
the oil had made its way into the Gulf
of Paria and also spread to surrounding
Helicopters hovered overhead, con-
ducting aerial surveys to identify the
distance the oil travelled. Specialist
cleaning contractors were engaged
asthe National Oil Spill Contingency
Plan (NOSCP) was activated.
Petrotrin in a release said the clean-
up was being conducted in a timely
manner and with minimal impact to
But also visible, yesterday, were
dozens of pelicans and other species
of fowl covered in oil, struggling to stay
afloat in the oil covered water.
In an updated statement yesterday,
Petrotrin said, "The spill has been
largely contained within the Pointe-
a-Pierre refinery area. Aerial surveys
and monitoring have indicated that
some oil leaked from the Pointe-a-
Pierre operations and has made its
way out to sea."
Corporate secretary of Fishermen
and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) Gary
Aboud, was critical of the State-owned
oil company, questioning how it could
operate with such carelessness and
disregard for the fishing communities
and the nation's health.
Aboud referred to the numerous
oil spills reported, "almost every
, especially in the south west
"Today 40 months after the 2013
disaster, there are numerous turtles,
dolphins, pelicans, corbeaux, sting-
rays, crustaceans and a wide variety
of bottom feeding fish that continue
to wash ashore daily, from Mosquito
Creek to Point Fortin," Aboud said.
Aboud said the Oilfields Workers'
Trade Union(OWTU) must take some
OWTU's Education and Research
Officer Ozzi Warwicksaid union offi-
cials also visited the site andhad initi-
ated its own investigations and reports
were being reviewed. He said the union
will issue a statement by today.
In its initial release, on Sunday,
Petrotrin said the spill involved at least
20 barrels of oil from a storage tank
and that it had activated its emergency
response plan to contain and recover
the leaked material.
However, the Environmental Man-
agement Authority (EMA) which made
site visits along with officials from the
Ministry of Energy and Energy In-
dustries (MEEI), said it has been no-
tified by Petrotrin that approximately
20,000 gallons of bunker fuel were
accidentally released at its Pointe-a-
Pierre refinery following the rupture
of a storage tank.
Water once per week, road falling apart in Moruga
Heat for MP as pipes run dry
Life in aMorugacontinues to be
a struggle for 68-year-old Alloy
Triea Guillermo and his wife Su-
san who strained as they pulled a
box cart carrying a barrel of water
across a dilapidated road.
It was for reasons like these that
the usually quiet community of the
Penal Rock Road erupted in fiery and
noisy protest against a poor standard
of living that mimicked the post-co-
Frustrated that governments, past
and present have ignored their basic
needs for street lights, water, proper
roads, drainage and jobs, they called
on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to
fire their MP, Dr Lovell Francis for a
lack of representation.
Outsidehis home yesterday,Guiller-
mo told the T&T Guardian that he has
to full water from one of two 1000-gal-
lon tanks placed at the roadside by
WASA, which is filled once a week. The
tanks are used by approximately 800
residents in the community, some who
travel three and four miles for water.
When the tanks are empty, Susan said
they have to visit her brother-in-law's
irrigation pond to fetch water, which
she has to boil before using.
With rain not failing in the past
month, the level of the pond is falling.
"Since I was born, we have been us-
ing box cart. You think it is right for
an old man like me to be doing this?
I have to be pulling a barrel of water
on a box cart and my wife behind
pushing. These are modern times so
we should not be have to be living so
There was repairworks on their road
a few years ago but because of the un-
stable land and a lackof proper drain-
age, it began to slip again. Before that,
it was last repaired during the Bas-
deo Panday administration between
1995 to 2001. As Francis showed up
in the village, located between the 10
and 16 mile marks, he received a scold-
ing from the protesters who chanted in
unison, "What you did for Penal Road?
Trees from the village'smulti-mil-
lion-dollarteak industry were cut and
used to block the road as they said out-
siders were being given jobs instead of
them. The Penal Rock Road linksBasse
Terre,Morugato the Penaljunction and
is used for many residents to get their
shopping and business done.
LesterGuevarro, president of the 14
1/4 mm Penal Rock Road Communi-
ty Council said it has been years since
they have been pleading for their roads
to be repaired. Now their patience
have run out, he said the protest will
continue until something is done. He
said there is water in the line once per
week but if the pump malfunctions,
residents have to wait for another sev-
en days. He said the PTSC bus stops
at the 10-mile mark so people living
beyond have to walk. For motorists,
there are tragedies waiting to hap-
pen as the road is slipping in several
areas. Guevarro said they have been
pleading with T&TEC to have 22 street
lights installed as many of the residents
have to traverse the road from theBasse
Terrejunction to their homes at night
Pleading for patience, Francis said
the issues are common to most rural
communities. He said that upon as-
suming the role of MP for the Table-
that the community had no water for
three months prior. He said because
the community was geographical-
ly located higher than others, it was
difficult for the water to reach their
homes. He said there are some areas
without water mains and he has asked
WASA to begin a pipe laying exercise.
With respect to the road, he said, he
has already met with Minister of Works
and TransportRohanSinananand Ru-
ral Development and Local Govern-
ment Minister Kazim Hosein to have
the road repaired. --- See pages A6, A10
Alloy Triea Guillermo and his wife Susan use a box cart to carry a barrel of water to their home yesterday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Petrotrin workers set up oil booms near the company's storage facilities following a leak yesterday.
PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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