Last update: 09-Dec-2013 11:04 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Fishermen object to German firm’s expansion
San Fernando fishermen are objecting to plans by German firm Olderdorff Carriers to expand its transshipment operations in the Gulf of Paria. President of the San Fernando Fishing Co-operative Society Salim Gool is calling for the intervention of Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj. He said the project will adversely affect the fishing grounds off the southern city and create an environmental hazard.
Oldendorff is seeking an certificate of environmental clearance and license to expand its current iron ore transshipment operations to allow for the bunkering of bauxite, coal and potash. Company officials held a consultation with the fishermen at Cara Suites Hotel, Claxton Bay, on Thursdasy to discuss the draft terms of reference for the project and the environmental requirements. Gool told the T&T Guardian fishermen expressed their disapproval of the project during those talks.
Gool said Oldendorff’s current bunkering operations already encourage a level of traffic in the Gulf which is affecting the fishing industry and the planned expansion will double that traffic. “They going to put three additional tankers for bauxite, coal and potash. There will be more ships coming in the area, more traffic, more pollution. That is taking away from our fishing grounds,” he company.
Olderdorff Carriers CEO Scott Jones denied Gool’s claims. He said the company is a socially responsible citizen that makes a valuable contribution to T&T’s economy. Jones said the company has been carrying out bunkering operations in the Gulf over the past year without any spillage or adverse impact on fishermen.
“Our operations are six miles offshore from Point Lisas and the bottom of that area there is mud. We have talked to many of the fishing villages and have done over ten discussion (sessions) with the fishing villages and the fishermen have not been affected. We have told them they could fish in the area, but they cannot come alongside our vessel,” Jones said.
He said Oldendorff has employed Trinidadians in 90 positions, including senior posts, and invested some $100 million in the local economy. He said the transshipment of bauxite, coal and potash is nothing new since Oldendorff has been shipping those products with no incident from ports in the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil. He said the company expects to generate an additional TT$150m per year from the project and provide permanent employment for 80 locals.
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