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Trinidad and Grenada beaches hit by oil spill

Regional 28 Feb, 2024 Follow News

Tobago’s beaches have been badly oil damaged

Trinidad and Tobago is dealing with a huge oil spill off its shores which is blighting so many beaches that the government has declared a national emergency. The spill is also affecting beaches in Grenada.

Two vessels were involved in an incident that is spilling gobs of black crude oil across a widening area of the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of South America. Emanating from a capsized barge off Tobago’s southwest coast, the oil has fouled some of the pristine beaches that attract so many tourists to the island, the country’s Coast Guard has confirmed.

The spill was discovered two weeks ago, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Keith Rowley declared a national emergency on Sunday. But the leak has not yet been plugged, nor have the owners of the vessels – a tug registered as “Solo Creed” and a barge named “Gulfstream” – been found.

The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard has learned that the tug was towing the loaded barge to Guyana when the towline broke, investigators believe.

Trinidad and Tobago is situated off the northern edge of the South American mainland. Trinidad, lies just 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) off the coast of Venezuela.

On Tobago, the main town, Scarborough, nearest to the spill, is some 290 km (180 miles) to the nearest Venezuelan town, Irapa. Tobago is only 130 km (81 miles) south of Grenada.

The spilled oil “has now entered Grenada’s territorial waters,” Tobago’s Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said Friday, following a fly-over by Trinidad and Tobago’s Air Guard, which confirmed the distance the spill has gone.

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