TRINIDAD – Oily spill off Vessigny
In wake of recent fish kill
PORT OF SPAIN – There is a line leaking an unknown oily substance into the ocean in the Gulf of Paria and environmentalist Edward Moodie is questioning whether this may have contributed to the recent fish kill in the same area.
In an exclusive tour of the area Wednesday, Moodie took teams from T&T Guardian and CNC3 out in a pirogue to visit the site where four yellow barrels marked the spot.
Although the leak is located about 500 feet away from the Trinity Marine Platform 2, a source at the company said while they were aware of the incident, the activity does not include Trinity.
At the site Wednesday, Moodie said: “We are out in the Brighton Fields area, a few hundred metres from the Vessigny shoreline, about 500 to 1,000 feet west of the Trinity platform.”
“We were informed since Wednesday, that there is a well constantly leaking in the Gulf of Paria. On approaching the site, we were able to film large amounts of petroleum-based products floating out to sea.”
Moodie said he was alerted to the leak by off-shore workers who told him it had been bubbling in that manner for months.
“A lot of this petroleum-based products is being dumped in the sea. The well has been there for a long time. However what happened with the fish kill that happened along the shoreline, the fishermen were telling us that is because the tides changed a little so all the dead fish were able to float ashore.”
Dead fish could be seen floating in the area and Moodie was able to snag a medium-sized salmon as it floated pass.
“As you can see we are still picking up dead fish. This is a salmon. I would like to know which trawler would dump salmon at $30 a pound. This is a fresh kill by the way. If you look at the eyes you would see it.”
About ten minutes after the pirogue pulled alongside the leak, a much larger vessel, with the markings Early Bird TL 461, with men dressed in Petrotrin uniforms aboard approached and warned the group away, stating they were about to dive at the site.
The pirogue’s captain moved the boat away, stating he needed to be at least 300 feet away from the large vessel once the crew on that boat indicated they were about to dive.
About an hour later, another vessel, with “Security and ‘Altoka TL 556’ written on the side, pulled alongside the pirogue and instructed the captain he could not stay within 1,000 feet of the dive vessel.
The person on the “Security” vessel, who was armed, also said the area had been cordoned off as work was earmarked to start there Wednesday and warning to fishermen had also been advertised. He did not say where the warnings had been advertised or which company was carrying out the works.
Moodie was full of questions though, saying the actions of the men on board both vessels were suspicious.
“Why is this vessel preventing us from filming what is happening in the water? Until we reached here this morning, there was absolutely no activity but upon reaching here, the boat came alongside us and asked us to move out of the area… why? What are we doing that is so wrong?”
Stating that something is amiss at the site, Moodie called on the authorities to stop hoodwinking the public. He added: “Something is wrong and the authorities are trying to cover up as best as they can because they are afraid of the panic that can ensue.
“Stop hoodwinking the people. People are not stupid. Everyone knows there is a problem… eat how much fish you want… we have video footage and pictures of a serious problem out at Brighton Fields.”
The T&T Guardian contacted the Environmental Management Authority (EMA’s) corporate communications officer, Mario Singh, who said the authority was not aware of any leaking lines. However, Singh said emergency response teams would be dispatched to the area to investigate the report. Efforts were made to contact Petrotrin. However, no response was forthcoming from the company.