After a mystery vessel grounded close to the Caribbean island, causing a major oil leak and dampening the mood for Carnival visitors, emergency personnel in Trinidad and Tobago are working feverishly to clean it up.
Farley Augustine, the chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, informed reporters that at least 15 km (about 10 miles) of the country’s coastline had been impacted and that officials were prepared to declare a national emergency.
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The damage caused by the leak, according to environmental experts, to a reef and Atlantic beaches portends badly for the island’s resorts and hotels, which are essential to the local economy during Carnival season.According to Augustine, the government may classify the incident as a Level 3 catastrophe, “everything indicates that we are going in that direction”.
On February 7, 2024, the unidentified yacht, named The Gulfstream, overturned near the Cove Eco-Industrial Park in southern Tobago. The boat was pulled towards the beach by the currents.The ship was flying an unknown flag when it was seen, and it had not made any emergency calls.
The ship’s cargo was first thought to be made up of wood and sand, but the island’s Emergency Management Agency reported that there were no signs of life on board.
Photographs of almost a thousand volunteers wearing protective white jumpsuits clearing oil off beaches were made public by the organization.
A recent official source claims that “all the coastguard’s efforts are aimed at containing the oil spill”.Speaking anonymously, the insider stated that it would take “some time” for investigators to ascertain the ship’s ownership, origins, and ultimate destination.
Augustine stated that offers of aid had been received and the island was prepared to welcome assistance from other nations.
After visiting Tobago, Trinidad’s Energy Minister Stuart Young declared that the main island was prepared to provide “any assistance that can be provided”.
The accident occurred on the eve of Carnival, and opposition MP Dave Tancoo predicted that tour operators would suffer significant losses during a period when their earnings are often at their highest.
“This opportunity was cruelly taken away from them,” he remarked.