The Civil Defence Commission (CDC) said it is closely monitoring the Venezuelan oil tanker with 1.3 million barrels of crude oil which is leaning to one side off a remote stretch of Venezuela’s coast in the Gulf of Paria.
The Floating Production Storage and Offloading Vessel –Nabarima –according to reports, has been moored off the Venezuelan coast since January 2019 after the US Government sanctioned its operator. The Nabarima is operated by Petrosucre joint venture between Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela [PDVSA.UL] and Italy’s Eni.
However, it recently started taking in water.
The CDC in a statement noted that while any initial oil spill can impact the ecological systems of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago almost immediately, “the impact of the spill can also affect other countries within the hemisphere.”
The CDC said it is working with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Authority (CDEMA) to closely monitor the situation and will keep the public updated.
“Should the need arise, the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) will be activated and the committee will be tasked with conducting analysis, assessments and necessary response measures to mitigate any adverse effect on Guyana,” the disaster response agency said.
According to a Reuters report, efforts were being made to stabilize the vessel and the Italian company –Eni –is also seeking the US’ approval before offloading the crude in order to prevent any sanctions risk.
A non-profit organisation in Trinidad and Tobago has been publishing information on the sinking vessel as it calls on the authorities to take quick action.
Meanwhile, it is urging all fishing and sea-going vessels to be on the lookout for any sighting of oil spills and to report immediately to MARAD Georgetown Lighthouse on telephone number 226-9871.