You are here

It’s all due to incompetence

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fact can be stranger than fiction. How about this—it’s a completely hypothetical situation: a small crude oil tanker cruises through the decades-old Trinmar marine oilfield, off Trinidad’s southwestern coast. 


It carefully weaves its way among the many oil platforms that litter this patch of sea. As on a schedule, it goes from one old, unmanned oil platform to another. It takes on a load of crude at each platform. Not much. The platforms are no longer economically viable, but there’s still pressure in the wells. Wait long enough, and each well will produce a harvestable amount of crude. 


The tanker never makes landfall in T&T. The Coast Guard doesn’t challenge it. The Air Guard is never in the area when it sails through the national waters. As unnoticed as it came, sitting heavier than before, it disappears over the horizon towards the South American mainland. It’s a ghost ship.  


The oil platforms the ghost ship milks are old. The ghost ship may or may not be real. The platforms most certainly are. Exposed to corrosive salt and H2O, they are old, exhausted and unstable. The Trinmar field dates back to the 1950s. The platforms’ design life would have been 30 or 40 years.