Fyzabad oil spill victims seek legal advice

One of the homes affected by the May 13 oil spill in Fyzabad.  - Marvin Hamilton
One of the homes affected by the May 13 oil spill in Fyzabad. - Marvin Hamilton

Families who have been displaced by a oil spill in Fyzabad are seeking legal advice even though they say they are comfortable with the response by state-owned Heritage Petroleum Company Ltd.

One of the victims of the oil spill Sareeta Ali told Newsday on Saturday, legal advice is being sought to safeguard their own interest and not necessarily to take action against the company.

Ali said a law firm has been in contact with the numerous families, some of whom were evacuated after a 16-inch trunk oil line ruptured on May 13.

She is one of three families, numbering approximately 20 people, still being housed at Paria Suites Hotel and Conference Centre, La Romaine, at the expense of the oil company.

Some of families who were given clearance to return home were affected by the vapours and air quality, rather than actual oil spilling into their properties, she said.

Ali said she was also satisfied that Heritage were trying their best to remedy the situation. She said she and her husband have been going back to the site to monitor the repair and clean up and can vouch that the air quality is also much better.

At this point, she said the families at the hotel, are just waiting on Heritage to give clearance for them to return home.

Although they are being taken care of at the hotel, she said it is no vacation as her two-year-old, who is accustomed to being outdoors, is now confined.

She said the May 13 incident is second time in nine months the oil line ruptured causing seepage into their property. She said once there is no threat or danger to herself or her family, she was prepared to return to her home, rather than relocate.

Ali said her home is built within the required distance from Heritage installations which may not be the case with some other residents.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert speaking in the Senate attributed the rupture to a garage constructed above the pipeline and the difficulty it was posing to carry out repair work.

Heritage, in a release, also renewed its call for people occupying properties on or over its pipeline to stop because of potential risks. The company has threatened litigation to remove illegal structures if there is non-compliance.

Heritage reminded that pipelines are critical for transportation of oil and gas across the country and to keep them safe, inspections are an essential part of the maintenance process.


"Fyzabad oil spill victims seek legal advice"

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