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Petrotrin on Guaracara oil spill: 60 percent retrieved

By Richardson Dhalai Saturday, August 2 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Workers assess clean-up operations at the Guaracara River in Pointe-a-Pierre on Thursday following an oil spill from the nearby Petrotrin oil refinery...
Workers assess clean-up operations at the Guaracara River in Pointe-a-Pierre on Thursday following an oil spill from the nearby Petrotrin oil refinery...

STATE-owned oil company, Petrotrin has noted that three days after an oil spill into the Guaracara river, approximately 60 percent of the slop oil had been retrieved. This even as the Oilfields Workers Trade Union, (OWTU), continues to accuse Petrotrin of not possessing an efficient oil spill response mechanism. On Tuesday a ruptured storage tank resulted in the spillage of approximately 17,844 barrels of slop oil, (a combination of unused gasoline, fuel oils and waste materials) into the environment, with several thousand barrels of oil finding its way into the Guaracara river. In a statement to the media yesterday, Petrotrin stated that as of 8.40 am on Friday morning, we have recovered more than 60 percent of the escaped slop oil along the Guarapari River and we continue heightened recovery operations with vacuum trucks, oil booms, skimmers and pumps deployed along the Guaracara River.”

“At this point, no oil is going from Petrotrin’s facilities into the Guaracara River. No oil has gone into the sea,’ the company stated emphatically.

And regarding its community outreach efforts, the company noted that it was ‘mindful that this has been a difficult time for all concerned and our team has been on the ground since the oil leak, interacting with the residents and treating with their concerns.”

“To this end we have provided continuous air quality monitoring, ongoing medical attention, employment to several persons in the community, meals and frequent communiqués. We continue to increase the visibility of our outreach efforts to ensure that all affected residents are informed of what we are doing to mitigate the impact of the spill in their communities and to update them of the progress of our recovery activities,’ Petrotrin stated.

The company stated that a 24-hour emergency shelter had been established at the Marabella North Government Secondary School (formerly Marabella Senior Comprehensive School) for the impacted residents and was also in the process of establishing an outpost for Medical and EAP services at the Councillor’s office at Battoo Avenue, Marabella.

“This will serve as a primary outpost for impacted residents and it will be equipped with a 24 hour emergency shuttle service to the Augustus Long Hospital if the need arises,” petrotrin stated, adding that residents could contact its emergency hotline 658-0235 between 7.00 am and 4.00 pm and 658-4200 ext. 2410 after 4.00 pm.

“In our continued clean up and recovery efforts, we wish to recognise and thank all personnel engaged in the clean-up operations as well as the residents and business community for their understanding,’ Petrotrin stated.

And while not alluding to an OWTU news conference yesterday in which President General, Ancel Roget, called for a public independent inquiry into the company’s operations, Petrotrin stated that a news conference would be held today at its Pointe-a-Pierre refinery to address “certain information which was being circulated in the public domain surrounding the Pointe-a-Pierre oil leak on July 28 2014.”

Meanwhile, San Fernando Mayor, Alderman Kazim Hosein, who visited several affected residents in Marabella on Thursday evening also called on Petrotrin to “be accountable and a better corporate citizen.”

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