The prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago has declared a “national emergency” due to a significant oil spill near the twin-island country. The government has promised to spare no resources in assisting with the restoration of the island’s beaches.
The south-west coast of Tobago has been covered in oil from the spill. The government has not yet been able to determine who owns the overturned vessel that was discovered off the coast last week.
Keith Rowley, the prime minister, stated that the exact amount of oil spilled and remaining in the mostly submerged vessel was uncertain. It is also unclear what caused the vessel to capsize.
At a press conference reported by the Trinidad & Tobago Newsday, it was stated that a vessel of unknown origin has been found overturned in Tobago. The identity of the vessel and its contents are currently unknown.
Rowley stated that the current evidence suggests that the vessel is damaged and releasing a type of hydrocarbon that is polluting both the water and the coastline. He also noted that the origin of this vessel could be from any type of illegal operation.
The chief secretary of Tobago’s house of assembly, Farley Augustine, stated that efforts to contain the leak by divers have been unsuccessful. They are currently working on a plan to safely remove the remaining oil.
Rowley stated that the expenses for the cleanup were expected to be significant. He emphasized that this was a matter of national emergency, therefore, it would require funding as an exceptional cost. He also noted the importance of finding the necessary funds and prioritizing them accordingly. The situation at hand is a top priority and requires immediate action. Additionally, he mentioned that there are considerable costs being incurred simply in response to the incident.
However, he cautioned that the process of cleaning and restoring can only commence once the situation has been effectively managed. Currently, the situation is not fully under control, but it is being managed well enough that we believe we can handle it.