“A DISASTER in the making.”
That was how president-general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget has described the latest Petrotrin oil spill which occurred in Marabella on Tuesday.
The residents affected by the spill live at Silk Cotton Road, Battoo Avenue.
Roget visited the area yesterday and once again blamed the incident on poor management of Petrotrin’s affairs. He said the spill was worse than the series of the oil spills in the Gulf of Paria last December.
According to OWTU reports, Roget said approximately 17,300 barrels were spilled into the Guaracara River and was anything but a small leak.
A news release from Petrotrin yesterday stated the leak was detected on one of the company’s tanks at the Pointe-a-Pierre Refinery and most of the oil was contained within the refinery.
Roget said Petrotrin learned nothing from the series of oil spills last year along the southwestern coastline. “We are in this situation yet another time with Petrotrin because of the poor management. Coming out of the oil spill that occurred last year, one would have expected the management of Petrotrin would be proactive and put measures in place for a tank integrity and maintenance programme, pipeline integrity and a maintenance programme to ensure that such an occurrence do not occur again.
“Like many other State enterprises but at Petrotrin in particular, they are a law unto themselves,” he said.
Roget added if those measures were not put in place immediately, the country was in danger of another oil spill.
He also said the company lacked a proper emergency response which put the lives of workers and residents at risk.
And he said the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Authority have failed in their duties and could not be trusted. “The regulatory agencies, the EMA and the OSH Authority for yet another time they have failed in their duty to ask the correct questions, to demand answers, to evacuate and to protect the lives of residents and also the lives and health of workers from our satisfaction,” Roget said.
Roget said Petrotrin was attempting to “trivialise a serious incident”.