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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Roget: Don’t blame workers for sabotage
If this week’s five oil spills are indeed acts of sabotage, President General of the Oilfield Workers Trade Union Ancel Roget is laying blame squarely on the backs of Petrotrin’s management for reducing security levels at the state-owned company. Saying most of Petrotrin’s marine and land installations are now unmanned because of previous security reductions, Roget said it was no wonder that Petrotrin had become a stomping ground for pilferers, saboteurs and criminals.
“For months now, we have been raising the issue of security with them. Our workers are being robbed while they attend to their duties in the oilfields. Pumping jacks are being stolen for scrap iron and workers were afraid to go to work because Petrotrin has reduced patrols and security,” Roget said. He claimed that security and patrols had been reduced by more than 80 per cent over the past few years.
“Under Texaco the oilfields were well manned. Right now Petrotrin management is not concerned about security of workers. All they want to do is reduce cost. Thieves are now entering the oil fields, removing flow lines and allowing valuable crude oil to spill into the water courses,” Roget said. He added, however, that Petrotrin should not blame workers for any possible acts of sabotage.
“It is a disaster caused by poor management of Petrotrin. The company is not managing the assets properly. We complained about poor security, and they did nothing. We don’t know anything about sabotage, but we believe they will make a lot of excuses for their incompetence,” Roget said. He said it would be a waste of money to purchase remote controlled drones to keep surveillance over offshore rigs.
“They need to rehire more security and have frequent patrols as they did in the past,” Roget said. “I feel passionate because these were issues we were warning about. They reduced the level of security, and they have now provided open season for bandits and predators. While workers were being robbed while on duty on the fields, they paid no mind to that. They wanted to run down the fields.”
He also challenged the company to say why it had not released the names of the lease operators who were involved in the spill. “There is a massive coverup in lease operatorship management. We have strong suspicions about those spills, and we are doing our own enquiries. We will make a statement in due course,” Roget said. He also said Petrotrin’s response to the spill was “woefully inadequate.”
Yesterday Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine confirmed that Trinmar’s Platform 17 and Riser Platform 5 on the East field were unmanned. “It means that anyone could have come from the sea and tampered with the offshore installations. We have to look at this breach in security,” Ramnarine said. Several residents of Chatham and Granville yesterday complained that they were unable to cook because of the fumes. Derswin De Gannes said Petrotrin had failed to relocate them.
“Today there is more oil. The fumes are still affecting us. They bagged up all the oil and left it on the shore, and everything is blowing inside. We cannot cook, because when we cook the food is tasting like oil,” De Gannes said. —RADHICA SOOKRAJ
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