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Saturday 17 November 2018
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Papa Bois: Abandoned vessels ‘ticking time bombs’

An overturned barge that had been reportedly leaking an oily substance into the Gulf of Paria.
An overturned barge that had been reportedly leaking an oily substance into the Gulf of Paria.

Environmental NGO Papa Bois Conservation has called for Government to be proactive and deal with vessels abandoned in our waters after a report of a leaking oil barge over the weekend in the Gulf of Paria.

"(It is) not the first or last time. The number of wrecks out there, barges half sunk, they need to be dealt with. Government needs to track down the people who own these ships and take legal action," said Papa Bois Conservation member Stephen Broadbridge.

He said the problem has been ignored and it may be too late to hold some accountable.

Papa Bois on their Facebook page said a report was made to the group last Friday of a barge leaking what appeared to be a large quantity of an oily substance while being towed through the Gulf of Paria by a tugboat. The tug was reported to be towing the barge towards the South.

The Coast Guard in an email response to Newsday said that on Saturday at 10:15 am a report of an oil barge leaking oil in the Gulf of Paria was received.

"The TTCG immediately dispatched a vessel to the location of the barge and at 10:40 am reported that the barge was already removed and the oil sheen was contained with a small oil containment boom."

Broadbridge in response said the oil was being contained but asked how it was being removed. He said that locally a chemical was used which was also damaging to the environment. He added the problem will reoccur with the number of ships that had been dumped including from foreign companies which had gone bankrupt.

He said the country was not good at managing problems but crisis managing and the vessels, like ticking time bombs, would be dealt with one at a time when they start to spring oil.

"The time to bother is when you notice a ship lingering half sunk. That is the time to worry and hold people accountable."

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