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Sunday 21 July 2019
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Microsoft helps tackle oil spills

Microsoft and Fujitsu are helping tackle oil spills in TT waters by using hi-tech equipment now deployed on a buoy a mile off Claxton Bay, said Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis on Tuesday in the Senate in reply to a listed question from Opposition Senator Wade Mark.

She said the deleterious effects of oil spills on the environment and economy, such as fishing, yachting and tourism, are a cause for concern.

She said her ministry’s Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) has begun an initiative for early detection of spills using this equipment containing state-of-the-art underwater sensors to give real time data on pollution, spills and fish kills.

The Ministry of Energy has a national oil spill plan for quick containment and recovery of oil, Robinson-Regis added. She is considering having a unit of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management streamline all information on oil spill incidents. The TT Coast Guard also has a 24-hour presence, she said.

Robinson-Regis said the Ministry of National Security is exploring the use of new technologies namely a high frequency radar system once used by the United States Coast Guard during the Exxon oil spill to improve response times to local spills.

She said it is “very effective” but “quite costly”. With talks ongoing, she promised an update within six months.

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