Following the inspection of the FSO Nabarima by a team of local experts, Member of Parliament for Tabaquite Anita Haynes is calling on the government to lay the full report on the state of the oil storage vessel in Parliament.
Haynes said the Nabarima issue is undoubtedly the most pressing environmental concern facing Trinidad and Tobago presently.
“For months, environmentalists and concerned citizens have been clamouring for our government to take proactive steps in this matter. Now that a report has been drafted, the public must be updated as to the actual status of the vessel.”
“Our entire fishing industry, tourism sector as well as commercial port activity is facing annihilation if the Nabarima sinks. The government needs to stop dragging its feet on this very serious threat to our nation,” she said.
Haynes said that the vessel, which holds over one million barrels of crude oil, is reported to have severe engine damage and has recently taken on water.
Moreover, recent images taken by the environmental activist group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) showed the vessel to be noticeably tilted to one side, which is in direct contradiction to what Energy Minister Franklin Khan announced during a media conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Haynes also chastised the government for its late response in sending an inspection team to determine the stability of the vessel.
She said, “Given that Keith Rowley readily opened our borders to facilitate a meeting with the Vice President of Venezuela Delcy Rodriguez, it is shameful that T&T had to practically beg the Venezuelan regime to have access to the Nabarima.”
Haynes added that the Government seems to be simply parroting what the Maduro regime says while ignoring the warnings and evidence from its own citizens, concerned groups like Fishermen and Friends of the Sea and international observers.
She also questioned the credibility of Khan to speak on this issue.
At a press conference to update the media on the findings of a report submitted by a T&T team that visited the vessel, Khan asserted that the FSO Nabarima is upright and stable with no visible tilt and there is no imminent risk of tilting or sinking at this time.
He said that there is no water ingress on the vessel visible to the team, adding that during the incident when the engine room was flooded there was no mixing of oil and water.
However, Haynes said that the Minister is an unreliable source of information as he has denied knowledge about the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela or the gas shipments from Trinidad that ended up in Venezuela.