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Marabella residents complain: Oil almost gone but fumes remain

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Even though most of the oil has been cleaned from the Guaracara River, residents are still complaining of pungent hydrocarbon fumes.

On July 28, caused by the July oil leak from one of Petrotrin’s tanks (MP6) at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery.

Last night they were planning to hold an emergency meeting at the Marabella Recreation Ground. They were also expected to meet with president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union Ancel Roget. 

One resident, Gillian Wickham, said although no oil was visible on the river, the smell of the fumes was continuing to cause distress to residents.

“I really wish I could get out of here. I have been living on the riverbank all my life. During the day the smell is not high, but at nights we cannot stay in the house. My brother has to walk out the road and sit on a neighbour’s steps until the air clears,” Wickham said.

She added that Petrotrin staff were continuing to distribute cleaning products.

Another resident, Trevor Jordan, said they were continuing negotiations with Petrotrin.

“We are still seeing black oil stains on the vegetation but most of the oil from the river is gone,” Jordan said.

On Sunday, Minister of Energy Kevin Ramnarine, visited the refinery. 

Petrotrin, in a statement, said most of the heavy oil had been recovered from the Guaracara River and clean-up work had started along the riverbank. Clean-up was also going on inside the refinery yesterday. 

An investigation into the leak is ongoing. Nine staff members, including two managers and the vice president of refining and marketing, Mado Bachan, have been suspended pending an investigation into the incident.