FISHING pirogues contaminated by the oil slick in the Gulf of Paria are expected to be cleaned this week.
Alvin La Borde, president of the La Brea Fisherfolk Association, said Petrotrin was preparing an area for cleaning the vessels at Coffee Beach, La Brea.
La Borde said 28 fishing vessels were stained by the crude oil in the La Brea community.
“We are now awaiting the preparation area where a chemical would be used to clean the boats that were stained with the oil. That special area is expected to be completed this week and we will be allowed to take in our boats,” he said.
La Borde said fishermen were unable to return to sea because their boats were not cleaned, causing them to lose nearly $2,000 income per day.
The Express was told the cost of the boat-cleaning exercise was expected to exceed $300,000—a cost to be incurred by Petrotrin.
La Borde said fishermen were pleased with the clean-up exercise on the beaches along the south-western peninsula.
“We know it would take a while to return to normal, but fishermen have not been able to go out at sea since December 18. And we have an arrangement with the company that once the oil returns to the area and contaminates fish, they will have to meet and treat with us again,” he said.
La Borde said residents were pleased Petrotrin started resheeting the La Brea roadway, which was damaged by heavy machinery used in the clean-up.
He said the fishermen would not sign any agreements with Petrotrin, however, until they are given the assurance the chemical used in removing the oil was safe for the fish and the oil would not resurface.
“We are not willing to sign off on any agreement until we know for sure it is safe to go out and fish. We don’t want to be accused of putting contaminated fish on people’s tables,” he said.