Chaguanas West MP Dinesh Rambally has written to Energy Minister Franklin Khan and Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Amery Browne, seeking further information on the status of the Venezuelan vessel FSO Nabarima.
This follows their assurance recently that the Venezuelan vessel does not pose a risk of an oil spill.
Rambally, who said he is representing the fisherfolk in his constituency, wants Government to state the terms of engagement within which permission was granted by Venezuelan authorities for the team’s inspection.
His concerns follow a Guardian story, which stated that Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA – which operates the vessel – did the film footage of the TT inspection team’s visit and the footage was then sent to this country’s Government.
Among the information being requested by Rambally are:
-What is the Coast guard’s readiness in terms of personnel/equipment to deal with an oil spill if there is one.
-Which countries /international bodies with expertise in oil spill management have been alerted or solicited for advice and support if there’s is a spill?
-Financial arrangements between Government and the Venezuelan Government for cleanup of any possible oil spill
-Given that the Venezuelan Government hasn’t been very cooperative in matters is there a contingency plan which considers the possibility that there’s no cooperation from Venezuela?
-Given that Venezuelan authorities didn’t allow TT’s team to use their own instruments to carry out an independent inspection, on what basis is Government feeling assured the visit was, in fact, a bona fide inspection versus a carefully guided tour?
-If there’s an oil spill which would inevitably lead to the eradication of the fishing industry and adversely impact Felicity and other fisherfolk, what remedies and/or compensation will be available to them?
-The Energy Minister has indicated that risk from the Nabarima is minimal. Can the minister indicate exactly what level of risk is considered minimal and what level does the minister consider acceptable?
-To what extent can the ministers say that they are confident that their minimal risk assessment is accurate and not perhaps a whitewashing of the handicaps of the site visit which rendered our technical team powerless to do their job?