Oil slick in the Gulf, near Trinidad

Originally published on Newsday.

Significant amounts of tar and oil yesterday blackened large portions of the Gulf-of-Paria, on Trinidad and Tobago’s west coast, the result of an apparent oil spillage. It was reported last night that some 4,000 barrels of oil had spilled into the Gulf early yesterday.

Coast Guard officials were said to have been patrolling the area early yesterday in the waters off the capital city waterfront when the discovery was made. Eyewitnesses also reported seeing clumps of tar and oil floating on a large expanse of water. There are fears that the development could pose a tremendous threat to marine life in the region. 
“It is really the last thing that we needed,” a member of the environmental group Trini Eco Warrior was reported as saying.

However, Kirk Jean-Baptiste, public relations officer of the T&T Coast Guard, assured that the Environmental Management Authority was at the location examining the area and the extent of the spillage.

“From what was reported, it seems as though there were two vessels anchored off of the Five Islands that produced some oily substance. But what we did so far is that we took people from the EMA and the Ministry of Energy out to make a better pronouncement as to what is going on. Currently we are working on it with the other agencies,” he said.

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine yesterday assured that the spillage was not a major incident, and that steps were being put in place to avoid further spillage.

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