“We don't know who this ship belongs to. We have no idea where it came from or what it was carrying”
On the existence of an oil spill on the island of Trinidad and Tobago due to the wreck of an “unknown” ship last week, which continues to “not be brought under control”, informed yesterday the head of the government of the island in the south-east of theCaribbean,where the start of the carnival tourism season is threatened by the disaster.
“Cleaning and restoration work cannot begin until the situation is under control. For now, it is not strong>”, stressed Prime Minister Keith Rowley during a press conference, officially declaring the country a state of emergency.
Divers have not been able to stop the leak from the ship, about a hundred meters long, while the Tobago Disaster Management Agency (TEMA) assures that no signs of life have been found on the mysterious Gulfstream ship, which caused the oil spill. 15 kilometers of coastline have been polluted in Tobago, one of the two islands of the oil-producing country of 1.4 million inhabitants, near Venezuela.
Hundreds of volunteers have mobilized since Thursday to limit the spread of the thick oil spill, but the effort is insufficient. In addition to affecting the local ecosystem, the oil spill also threatens vital tourism revenue.
Trinidad and Tobago is preparing to welcome thousands of tourists during the Carnival season, but many resorts and hotels in Tobago are affected by the oil spill.
The government appealed for more people to mobilize and join the volunteers. The Authorities have also requested that tourists do not approach the zones affected by the contamination.
Sea locks were developed for about 15 km, to allow ships to arrive as far as the port of Scarborough, the capital of Tobago. The Gulfstream, the ship that caused the disaster, remains a mystery: it is not clear what flag it was sailing under, nor were there any calls for help on the day it went down. “We have not been able to identify the ship by name (…) nor by registration number,” said Farley Augustine, the head of authorities in Tobago, during a press conference. “We don't know who this ship belongs to. We have no idea where it was coming from or what it was carrying,” Mr Rowley insisted, not ruling out that the vessel was involved in smuggling. “We don't even know if it's a truck, a tanker, or a barge, as only its keel is visible and the evidence that would allow its identification is underwater, inaccessible at the moment,” Mr Rowley added.< /p>
Initially, it was thought that the ship was carrying sand and timber. It is believed to have capsized off Cove Eco-Industrial Park, in southern Tobago, and been washed ashore by currents.