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Oil spills contained

By JANELLE DE SOUZA Thursday, January 16 2014

click on pic to zoom in
PRISTINE: A healthy-looking Coffee Beach in La Brea is seen from the air yesterday, following weeks of the sea being coated in thick crude oil followi...
PRISTINE: A healthy-looking Coffee Beach in La Brea is seen from the air yesterday, following weeks of the sea being coated in thick crude oil followi...

STATE-owned Petrotrin is focusing its clean-up efforts on Coffee Beach and Point Fable (pronounced Sab) in La Brea, according to Petrotrin corporate communications manager Gillian Friday.

She noted that most of the spills were contained along a ten and a half mile span of the south west peninsula and that ten of the 13 beaches were “relatively clean” but are still being monitored.

A total of 11 oil spills were detected, beginning on December 17, on the No 10 Sea Line at the Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre Port. Since then 4,000 barrels of oil were recovered. “On Monday the chairman said that ten miles were clean and the second phase of clean up operations includes restoration, rehabilitation work, which has started in collaboration with the EMA (Environmental Management Authority) on those ten miles,” said Friday.

When Newsday visited the La Bea area in a National Operations Centre helicopter yesterday, some oil residue could be seen on the sand, in some of the mangroves and tree roots and rocks along the shoreline. Most of the area however, appeared to be free of oil.

The sea itself, previously coated with thick crude, yesterday looked as it normally would — brown and cloudy — as currents near the shore churned up the sand. In deeper water, rich shades of blue and green with no sign of crude, were evident.

The helicopter pilot who said he visited the same area two weeks ago yesterday exclaimed, “look at the huge difference today! This is a great improvement. A total difference. It looks like it’s almost back to normal except for a little discolouration on the rocks.”

At 12.30 pm, there was very little clean-up activity save a few trucks transporting oil, oil-soaked sand and oil barrels to the clean-up base a few miles away. Full garbage bags lined parts of the stretch from Otaheite Bay to Coffee Beach.

At the clean-up base at Point Fable there were two pits dug into the sand, lined and filled with oil. Friday noted that oily material taken from the area was deposited into the pits. A vehicle then removes the material from the pit to a remediation site.

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