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An oil spill in Tobago Island, Trinidad and Tobago, is seen in this handout photo released February 10, 2024. Office of the Chief Secretary - THA/Handout via REUTERS

An oil spill in Tobago Island, Trinidad and Tobago, is seen in this handout photo released February 10, 2024. Office of the Chief Secretary - THA/Handout via REUTERS

Mystery Shipwreck Leaking Oil in Trinidad and Tobago

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 11027
February 12, 2024

Trinidad and Tobago is currently dealing with a significant oil spill from a mystery ship that ran aground last week.

The country’s Prime Minister, Keith Rowley, stated on Sunday that the spill is yet to be brought under control and described the situation as a “national emergency.”

The unidentified vessel capsized last Wednesday, February 7, without sending a distress signal, no known crew members, and no clear indication of ownership. The incident has resulted in a significant oil spill that has impacted nearly 10 miles of coastline.

Prime Minister Rowley has said that cleanup and restoration efforts can only begin once the spill is under control. However, despite their efforts, divers have been unsuccessful in stopping the leak.

Hundreds of volunteers are working to manage the spread of the oil.

The spill’s impact has reached the village of Lambeau, located on the southeast coast of Tobago Island, where residents have been advised to wear masks or relocate temporarily.

The mysterious vessel, bearing the name “Gulfstream,” is suspected to have been involved in illicit activities, according to Rowley.

Despite the ongoing investigation and cleanup efforts, much about the ship remains unknown, including its origins and contents. Divers have been working to find additional markings to help identify the overturned vessel. Officials suspect it may have been under tow.

The country’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has provided equipment aid the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) in response to the oil spill. The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) has providing additional provisions for the response, including Tyvek suits, hazmat bins, and shovels, which will be crucial for clean-up and containment efforts.

The disaster unfortunately coincides with the peak of Carnival, a critical season for the country’s tourism industry.

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