Petrotrin spill reaches Margarita

...Venezuelan media reporting polluted beaches

(Trinidad Express) State-owned Petrotrin has not yet responded to reports that the bunker fuel spilled from its Pointe-a-Pierre refinery has reached the shores of Venezuela.

Images posted on Papa Bois’ Facebook page shows the oil on the beach and its effect on wildlife.

The oil slick has now reached Margarita island, a popular vacation destination for Trinidad and Tobago nationals, according to the Papa Bois, an environmental group.

The group said that several beaches in Margarita have been closed because of the spill.

The Express contacted Petrotrin’s communications department on the issue. However, the matter was referred to the Ministry of Energy.

Venezuelan media have reported that the April 23 oil spill in Trinidad had reached Margarita Island with sightings of black substance on the Nordisqui beach.

Spanish online newspaper El Diario reported that the spill was now the subject of an investigation by the Venezuelan Public Prosecutor’s office.

El Diario stated that 61 Venezuelan non-Governmental organisations are demanding compensation from the Trinidad & Tobago government. Conbive Civil Association for the Conservation of Venezuelan Biodiversity released a video showing volunteers cleaning what is claimed to be oil from the Nordiqui beach, normally home to surfers and kite boarders.

The report stated that the oil could be from the April 23 Petrotrin oil spill in Trinidad or a tanker discharging its bilges or the oil terminal at Puerto La Cruz.

The only way to ascertain is through testing, as all crude oil has signature chemical compositions.

Former Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said the oil that washed up in Margarita and other islands would have to be finger printed to determine whether it came from Tank 70 in Pointe a Pierre.

“In the absence of the chemical analysis it would not be possible to make any conclusion. I would await an analysis of the oil.  The sooner this is done the better because the deficit of information could cause speculation,” he said.

On April 23, a fuel oil storage tank ruptured at Petrotrin’s Pointe-a-Pierre tank farm.

Petrotrin stated that 300 barrels of oil had entered the Gulf of Paria.

The oil has drifted to the east coast of Venezuela.

The Ministry of Energy stated that it is closely monitoring the oil spill which has now spread from Trinidad to the  Venezuelan maritime boundary.

The Ministry has been tracking the trajectory of the oil spill through computer based models of aerial and maritime surveys as the spill is moving in a westerly direction towards the border.

It said that through diplomatic channels, the Ministry has alerted the Venezuelan authorities.

Venezuela has confirmed oil sightings in the vicinity of Guiria two Sundays ago.

Photographs have surfaced showing dead leather back turtles covered in oil on beaches in east Venezuela.

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