Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 19th 2014 Contents A4
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt January 19, 2014
Karl Terrence Hudson-Phillips,
State-owned Petrotrin is holding one man respon-
sible for four separate leaks and thousands of barrels
of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Paria, last month.
The company claimed it made a "major break-
through" by terminating a man believed to be involved
in the sabotage of its operations, but a series of email
exchanges obtained by the Sunday Guardian, painted
a different picture.
In one letter dated October 22, 2013, some two
months before the first oil spill, Petrotrin wrote to the
man to inform him that they received a complaint
regarding his conduct "as a navigation/safety supervisior,
between October 2012 and December 2012, seeking
and accepting a gift or loan in the amount of $100,000
from a contracted supplier of goods and services to
the company, without complying with the company's
codes and policies on gifts and conflicts of interest."
The man was purported to be a senior member of
the Oilfields Workers Trade Union (OWTU) but had
not held any office since 1996, the union said.
By December 6 last year, 11 days before the spill
occurred, the company informed him that the inves-
tigation into the then one-year-old matter had been
completed. While the letters found him to be in con-
travention of the company's code of conduct and ethics,
it did not state the next course of action that would
be taken against him. He continued working, the union
said.President general of the OWTU Ancel Roget yes-
terday described these latest allegations as "more lies
In a media release yesterday, he condemned what
he called "false and malicious claims by Petrotrin."
"The OWTU states categorically that no OWTU
officer at the Trinmar branch have been dismissed.
We further state categorically that no OWTU officer
is currently under any investigation. The only case the
OWTU is aware of, is one where a worker received a
notice of investigation since October 22, 2013, long
before any oil spill. "Further, the complaint made
against the worker was in relation to an incident which
occurred between October and December 2012 where
he is accused of accepting a gift contrary to the com-
pany's gift policy," he said.
"What is even worse is that this worker, to date, has
not received any dismissal letter. This case has absolutely
nothing to do with any oil spill since the investigations
was ongoing long before December 17, 2013," he said.
The man was said to be on the job up to yester-
Roget said the union was not aware of any inves-
tigation in relation to the oil spill as none of the union
members or officers have been interviewed.
In a telephone interview subsequently, Roget tied
the responsibility for the spill to Prime Minister Kamla
Persad-Bissessar. He said her refusal to meet with the
union as a major energy stakeholder was tantamount
to turning a blind eye to the negligence at Petrotrin.
He predicted that the neglect at Petrotrin was so
far gone that the Government would have no other
alternative than to sell it off.
"The Prime Minister is shielding her friends at the
expense of the nation," he charged.
Roget: It's more lies from Petrotrin
Fishermen along the south-
western peninsula whose boats
were affected by Petrotrin s 11
oil spills were able to clean
their vessels for the first time
yesterday using a non-toxic
product called "de-oil-it"
sourced from the United States.
On Friday, brothers Andrew
and John Collier, owners of Tank
Fuel Services Ltd, along with
regional lead of the "de-oil-it"
product David Bovell gave pres-
ident of the La Brea Fishing
Association Alvin La Borde and
a small group of fishermen a
demonstration of the product
in the presence of Petrotrin's
The product when applied on
areas covered with oil, Bovell
said, has the ability to disarm
the toxic molecules, leaving sur-
faces thoroughly clean. The
product, they said, apart from
being non toxic to humans, ani-
mals and the environment, was
also water-based and
Bovell said La Borde was
pleased with the product's
effectiveness and gave it his seal
of approval. As a result,
Petrotrin ordered two barrels of
the product. Yesterday, scores
of fishermen whose boats were
covered in oil last month, were
able to clean their vessels at
Point Sable in La Brea.
Collier (John) said they could
supply Petrotrin in excess of
5,000 barrels of de-oil-it daily.
Collier could not say how
many barrels of the product
would be required by Petrotrin.
He said one feature of the
product was that "one barrel
can be diluted 32 times in
De-oil-it, Collier said, has
been approved by the Ministry
Collier could not say what
chemical Petrotrin used before
in their clean-up exercise.
"Our product is the only one
that has worked so effectively."
Collier said had Petrotrin used
de-oil-it following the initial
spill, the clean up would have
already been completed.
(See box below)
Just after clean-up efforts began, fishermen and
residents along the southwestern coast
complained of noxious fumes from the product
used, Corexit 9500. It was later reported that
Corexit was deemed harmful in some situations
and may have caused some residents to feel ill.
Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine defended the
use of Corexit 9500, saying it was on the
approved list of items on the National Oil Spill
Fishermen 'de-oil' boats
Petrotrin workers using the de-oil-it product on pirogues at Point Sable Beach in La Brea, yesterday.
MINISTER DEFENDS COREXIT
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