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Equinor to clean up Bahamas terminal oil spill following hurricane

10 September 2019

Norwegian energy company Equinor has said it will tackle an oil spill from its South Riding Point oil terminal on the Bahamian island of Grand Bahama after tanks on the site were damaged by Hurricane Dorian. Images on social media showed leaks down one of the three tanks on the site and on the ground nearby.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

Hurricane Dorian has left oil seeping into the ground on the island of Grand Bahama after the storm blew the tops off five of the ten crude-storage tanks at the oil terminal.

“According to the information we have right now, the roofs of five tanks are gone,” Equinor said in a statement. “We do not know if they are been carried away by the winds or fallen into the tanks.”

Equinor also said that a flyover it conducted showed oil had seeped into the ground but not the sea.

The terminal has a storage capacity of 6.75 million barrels of crude and condensate. At the time the hurricane hit 1.8 million barrels were stored in the three tanks.

Resources are being mobilised as quickly as possible to safeguard people, the environment and the facility, the company said.

Equinor has security services on site to identify potential hazards while oil spill response vessels have been procured from Florida and Louisiana.

Some are on their way while others are going through customs. Equinor said clean up and remediation will start “immediately”, working in coordination with incident management teams in the US and Norway.

However Equinor said the situation is “complex and challenging, with damage to infrastructure hampering progress in relief and response efforts”.

The firm said it had 54 workers on Grand Bahama Island at South Riding Point when the tropical cyclone hit, who are all safe and accounted for. All employees are being given relief, including food and water.

Hurricane Dorian tore through the Caribbean in early September leaving tens of thousands of people homeless and causing billions of dollars of damage to property. The official death toll is 43, however it is expected to rise further.

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