EVEN though clean-up work has started days after an oil leak in the New Cut Channel in Woodland, fishermen are calling for immediate compensation.
The oil spill began after a faulty Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd pipeline began leaking.
Fishermen said that they have lost days of income and continue to do so even as cleanup work continues.
Fisherman Deoraj Ramlal said, “This is our bread and butter and things have already been hard with covid19. Now we have been forced to miss days of work because of this oil spill.”
Ramlal said the oil spill was not the fault of the hundreds of fisherman affected and it is Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd who should take full responsibility.
“Why should we be made to suffer now? Christmas is next month. We have families to feed and gifts to buy. A proper assessment needs to be done and we need to be compensated for our losses.”
Another fisherman, Yasmin Mohammad, said the oil spill not only affected the plants and wildlife but the boats of some fishermen were also stained with the oil.
“They are lucky their engines were not damaged because an engine cost $100,000 and this is money we don’t have. We are struggling and now things have gotten worse with this oil spill."
Mohammed agreed that fishermen should be compensated.
Heritage, in a release on Thursday afternoon, urged the public to avoid passing on the La Fortune Pluck Road to the river’s mouth at Mosquito Creek.
It said caution was necessary in order to carry out work efficiently as clean-up efforts of the oil spill at the Godineau River continued.
So far, Heritage said the clean-up and remediation of the watercourse and other affected areas, the deployment of additional booms to restrict any spread of the oil downstream, ongoing surveillance and assessment of the shoreline and surrounding areas, the search for, conservation, and rehabilitation of impacted wildlife, the deployment of additional vessels and other resources, including support of persons from nearby communities, to assist in the clean-up operations were being conducted.
“All the appropriate measures are being taken at the site and Heritage continues to work closely with all relevant authorities to ensure that all operations are conducted in a safe, efficient, and timely manner,” it said.
Oropouche West MP Dave Tancoo has called on the Heritage to conduct the necessary assessment of old pipelines in the southern region to prevent an oil catastrophe from taking place.
“The problem is that these are all old pipes. So today they will patch a leak and tomorrow would be somewhere else, but it will continue to leak because these pipes have not been maintained for quite a while.
“We can expect more of this damage on a consistent and continuous basis unless serious attention is paid. There is a lot of technology available today that can allow the assessment of these pipes without having to interfere with the pipes,” he said