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Trinidad oil refinery spills large quantity of bunker fuel

25 April 2017

Petrotrin, the Trinidadian state-owned oil company, said clean-up and recovery efforts were continuing following an accidental spill of 20,000 gallons (91,000 litres) of bunker fuel onto adjacent land from its Pointe-a-Pierre refinery on 23 April.

Pointe-a-Pierre refinery - Image: ChristianWelsh/CC
Pointe-a-Pierre refinery - Image: ChristianWelsh/CC

In an update, the company said the spill has been largely contained within the refinery area. While aerial surveys indicated that some oil had made its way out to sea, containment and recovery  operations would continue, it said.

The portion of the fuel not contained and recovered made it into the Guaracara River and the Gulf of Paria, and local fishermen claim their livelihood is once more threatened by Petrotrin.

The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Ministry of Energy are looking into the spill. Three years ago the State-owned energy company was ordered to pay some $20 million in fines for breaches of its Certificate of Environmental Clearance (CEC), according to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

The Guardian quotes an Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) spokesperson claiming that the storage tanks on the refinery site were infrequently inspected and others could soon leak.

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