Bonaire Affected By Tobago Oil Spill

CMC – Government says the oil spill that has been impacting Tobago since earlier this month is now posing  a “serious threat to both humans and nature” on the Dutch-speaking Caribbean island.

In a statement, the government said parts of Bonaire’s east coast, including Sorobon, Lac and Lagun, have been contaminated with oil and vulnerable mangrove, fish and coral ecosystems are at risk.

“The emergency services are now committed to a rapid and effective cleanup of the oil slicks,” the statement said.

There was no immediate information on the size of the slicks that had reached Bonaire’s east coast, but social media posts by residents showed pictures of oil-stained sand, reefs and birds at some beaches.

The Dutch island is reliant on tourism, and officials say protecting the mangrove-rich area of Lac Bay has been made a priority.

The Trinidad and Tobago government has already announced that it is partnering with international experts to remove the wreckage of a barge responsible for the oil spill that was detected in the waters of Tobago on February 7.

The Ministry of Energy said that the Texas-based company, T&T Salvage  and QT Environmental, of Minnesota, will work with local officials to also clean up the spill.

The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard (TTCG) has confirmed that at least two vessels were involved in the oil spill incident.

In a statement, the Ministry of National Security said that even as investigations are continuing, video footage and other information, obtained by the TTCG, have confirmed that the two vessels are a tug boat and a barge.

Last week, the Guyana Power and Light Inc distanced itself from the oil spill saying it can “unequivocally state that the company is not related to this unfortunate incident”.