State oil company Petrotrin has to date paid out close to $3 million in compensation to those affected by the oil spills in the southwestern peninsula, Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine has said.
Addressing Parliament at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain on Friday on a matter of urgent public importance, Ramnarine said: “With regard to compensation, to date some $2,667,900 has been paid out by Petrotrin covering 236 boats and 32 vendors at various fishing villages.
“Clean-up work is currently in progress at the Point Sable Beach, and nearby beaches including the mangrove and polluted sand is being removed and sent to temporary storage sites at Guapo and Point Fortin, where it will be remediated.
“To date 50 truckloads of contaminated oil and sand have been sent to these sites. More than $10 million have been spent in environmental clean-up work and low power flushing of the mangrove is taking place.”
Ramnarine said that the initial clean-up work should be completed in February and will be followed by ongoing rehabilitation work and environmental monitoring.
He added that his ministry plans to develop a security strategy to protect the energy sector in light of the oil spills for which several employees have to date been suspended as Petrotrin conducts investigations.
“The MEEA intends to produce a comprehensive security strategy for the energy sector. This will be done in collaboration with the Minister of National Security and the National Security Council,” he said.
Ramnarine said the ministry will also be requesting a full report from the NOSCP Incident Command Team and Petrotrin on the series of oil spill events and Petrotrin has advised that they intend to undertake a series of actions over the coming months.
“These include the complete cleanup and rehabilitation resulting from spills, continued engagement and collaboration with communities impacted, collaboration with EMA to institute a Rehabilitation Plan which will include monitoring of mangroves, beaches and the near shore environment, conduct a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) including floral and faunal assessments, complete assessments and investigative reports on all incidents to ascertain causative factors and institute resultant recommendations.”