Trinidad and Tobago hit by mystery ship oil spill

1 week ago 20

 10 February 2024Image source, AFP via Getty Images

Image caption,

Oil now covers some of Tobago's pristine beaches

By Jaroslav Lukiv

BBC News

Trinidad and Tobago is considering declaring a national emergency over a huge oil spill from a ship that ran aground and overturned this week.

At least 15km (nine miles) of Tobago's south-western coast have been affected, including some of the Caribbean island's pristine beaches.

Some 1,000 volunteers have now joined government staff to clean up the spill.

Divers have been trying to isolate the leak from the vessel, which was abandoned by its crew.

Farley Augustine, the chief secretary of the island of Tobago, on Saturday said the government may designate the accident a Level 3 disaster, the highest.

"Everything indicates that we are going in that direction," he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

The spill is currently Level 2, meaning the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management believes that the country can deal with the spill.

A national emergency is declared when local resources become "overwhelmed" and international assistance is needed.

The ship - identified only as The Gulfstream - capsized last Wednesday off the coast of the Cove Eco-Industrial Estate.

No emergency calls were made.

The incident happened just days before Trinidad and Tobago's carnival celebrations, which are an important source of income for its economy.

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