A ship wrecks, oil on the corals of Trinidad


By John

Environmental alert in Trinidad and Tobago, where emergency services are working to clean up a massive oil spill from a mysterious ship that ran aground near the Caribbean island, staining the coast and impacting resorts as the country prepares to welcome thousands of tourists for the carnival. At least 15 kilometers of coastline have been affected by the oil spill, with environmental officials reporting damage to coral reefs and Atlantic beaches. Authorities are ready to declare a national emergency, Farley Augustine, chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, told reporters, explaining that the government could upgrade the incident to a level 3 disaster. “Everything indicates that we are going to that direction.”

The mysterious ship, identified as The Gulfstream, capsized off the coast of Cove Eco-Industrial Park in southern Tobago on Wednesday, and the currents dragged the boat towards the shore. When she was spotted on Wednesday, the ship was traveling under an unidentified flag and did not raise any alarms. The island’s Emergency Management Agency said there were no signs of life on the vessel, which was initially believed to be carrying sand and wood. The agency released photos of about 1,000 volunteers in protective white suits working to remove oil from beaches while divers worked to plug a leak in the vessel, Augustine added. “All Coast Guard efforts are aimed at containing the oil spill,” a government source said, adding that it will take “some time” before investigators can determine the origins, ownership and destination of the vessel.” .

The oil spill not only threatens precious marine ecosystems, but also tourism on the island: According to opposition MP Dave Tancoo, tour operators who typically do much of their business during the carnival will suffer significant financial losses as a result of the incident. The traditional children’s carnival has already been canceled in Scarborough, the capital of Tobago, due to numerous oil spills that have contaminated the coast. And several hotels and resorts in Tobago have been affected, such as the Magdalena Grand. The accident comes 45 years after one of the largest oil spills in the country’s history, which occurred on July 19, 1979 when two oil tankers – carrying 276,000 and 200,000 tonnes of crude oil – collided in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Tobago.