Spill control: Oil spill containment booms placed along Queen’s Beach, La Brea in the aftermath of last week’s oil spill. —Photo: INNIS FRANCIS

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ODPM on high alert, says Ramroop

THE Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) will be among the agencies monitoring an oil spill that has impacted large areas in Trinidad’s south-western peninsula, including La Brea and Chatham.
THE ODPM, through its National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), expects to receive hourly updates on the situation, said ODPM CEO Dr Stephen Ramroop.
“The NEOC of the ODPM is on high alert state,” Ramroop said yesterday evening.
“All emergency functions have been advised to liase with the Ministry of Energy Affairs for hourly updates on clean-up operations.”
The ODPM is also “watching closely” along the coast via helicopter and reporting back to the NEOC, which is in contact with clean-up crews contracted by Petrotrin and the Ministry.
One of the functions of the ODPM will also be to ensure that there is “a proper administration of consequences” in the wake of the spill, Ramroop said.
Conservationists were up to yesterday calling for Petrotrin to be held accountable, citing devastation to marine life and wildlife on land, with reports coming in that the crude oil had also entered some of South Trinidad’s wetlands.
Mangrove and wildlife in some areas were seen covered with oil and environmental group, Papa Bois Conservation (PBC), reported during a visit that wildlife rescue workers were calling the incident “a disaster”.
In a letter to the editor at the weekend, Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) president Gary Aboud said too many questions were being left unanswered as to who should be held responsible.
Aboud said while this latest incident is more visible to the nation, Petrotrin should also say what is being done to address more than 20,000 slow leaks on decaying or improperly-laid pipelines over the decades.
The fishing community is also eager for the company to clarify whether adequate compensation for loss of livelihood will be forthcoming, Aboud said, adding that more than ten beaches have, in fact, been impacted by spillage in the past year.
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