By Shaliza Hassanali
The Environmental Management Authority (EMA) plans to launch
a full-scale investigation into a severe oil spill, which
occurred two days ago in Chaguaramas.
This was revealed by communications specialist of the EMA,
Alicia Charles, during a telephone interview yesterday.
Up to late yesterday evening, officials of the EMA and the
Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries were trying to determine
the source of the problem.
We have to launch an investigation to find what caused
the spill, Charles said.
Although the spill took place on Tuesday, Charles said, it
was rather unfortunately that the EMA was only informed of
the matter on Wednesday.
The spill was caused after a 500-foot long derelict boat named
Kellys Mark, which had been anchored behind Caribbean
Dockyard for more than 15 years, started to sink on Tuesday,
due to a small leak.
By yesterday morning, half of the rusty boat was submerged.
Within hours of the boat going down, oil started floating
on the waters surface, said Daniel Spider
Richards, who operates a boat service in Chaguaramas.
Richards said he believed that the oil was stored somewhere
on the boat.
With the changes in tide, Richards said the oil had been moving
back and forth.
The oil has gone as far as Power Boats and Crews Inn
within a matter of hours, he said, shaking his head
He said the spill would no doubt affect marine life, sea bathers
and the livelihood of fishermen in the area.
Look at the outside of our boats... its covered
with oil and tar, Richards said.
It would take us days to clean.
This water was crystal clear just a few days ago, now
Yesterday, Caribbean Dockyard hired Richards and a crew of
12 workers to disperse a chemical called Simple Green into
The chemical has been slowly dissolving the oil.
A float made of sponge was also placed around the perimeter
of the boat to prevent the oil from spreading.
While Richards crew was trying to do damage control
in the water, two men were seen on deck pumping water out
of the boat.
Once the water is out, the boat will float again,
The biggest problem is removing the oil from the water.
Richards said it was up to the Coast Guard and the Tourism
Development Authority to decide the future of the boat.
Calypsonian D Mighty Trini, who showed up at the scene to
comfort those affected by the spill, said This was a
disaster waiting to happen.
Trini said several calls made to the Ministry of Health to
remove the boat were ignored.
The boat was a breeding ground for mosquitoes and an
eyesore to the western peninsula, he said.
We have totally ignored the saying that prevention
is better than cure... Now, this is the end result.