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Fisherman dumps carite after oil spill
San Fernando fishermen abandoned their fishing trips and threw away their catch yesterday after thick black crude oil contaminated their fishing nets. The oil was spotted in the Gulf of Paria about five miles from shore.
Fisherman Darryl Lee Afoon, 35, said he was fishing about five miles off King’s Wharf, San Fernando, on Wednesday night when he noticed a thick film of oil on the surface. He scooped up the oil with a container but the spillage stretched over a half-mile radius.
He said: “I immediately started pulling up the nets. It was covered in oil. I had to throw away the fish. It’s about 50 pounds of carite that I threw away. “Nobody can fish in that area. This oil spill affecting us for the longest while. We saw some oil there recently but yesterday it was thicker and blacker.”
He alleged that the oil appeared to be from Petrotrin’s operations. Another fisherman, Chan Sookoo, said the pollution was affecting their livelihood and called on the authorities to investigate.
The latest spill came two days after thieves entered the unsecured Mount Pellier Line Transfer Facility at North Trace, Cap-de-Ville, where they cut an eight-inch pipeline, causing more than 20 barrels of oil to spill in the sea.
At the time, Petrotrin chairman Khalid Hassanali, said it was impossible for the company to secure all of its installations. He said Petrotrin’s assets were too vast to have security officers posted everywhere, although the company must be vigilant about its security.
Chairman of the San Fernando Fishing Co-operative Salim Gool said it was unlikely the Cap-de-Ville spillage had travelled upwind. He explained the winds were blowing easterly so it was not possible that the crude would spread northwards. Gool said he did not know where the oil originated.
“This has a major impact on fishermen’s lives because the oil keeps away the fish. There is also another repercussion because when they use chemicals to dilute the oil, the remnants of the oil sink to the seabed and this affects the breeding grounds,” Gool said.
He added that drilling operations had started in La Brea and there was no collaboration with the fisherfolk. Petrotrin’s corporate communications manager Gillian Friday, was unavailable for comment yesterday but an official in her department said investigations would be done to determine if there were any leaks in Petrotrin’s facilities.
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