Tobago Hoteliers extremely worried about impact of oil spill while Farley ready to declare Tier 3 disaster

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Tobago Hoteliers extremely worried about impact of oil spill while Farley ready to declare Tier 3 disaster

Tobago Hoteliers are extremely concerned about the environmental impact and potential consequences of the oil on the south-eastern side of the island.

The Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association, in response to the recent oil spill off the coast of Cove Estate, said the spill has the potential to raise significant environmental and economic challenges for Tobago.

In a release, they said: ” As such, we are actively monitoring the situation. We must commend the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and other local authorities for their fast response and applaud their efforts to mitigate the effects that this oil spill can have on our ecosystem.

We as an association also stand ready to collaborate with our local authorities, environmental agencies, and other stakeholders to address and mitigate the effects of this unfortunate incident. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our community members, visitors, and the environment,” it said.

The Association said it will maintain its communication with relevant authorities so that it is ready to provide support in any way possible to aid in the cleanup efforts.

” While we acknowledge the potential impact on the local tourism industry, we remain steadfast in our commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism practices. We will work diligently to minimize disruptions to the travel experience for our guests while prioritizing the restoration and protection of our natural surroundings,” it said.

Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association said in the coming days as more information comes to hand, it will share said information with its membership and should the authorities call for additional hands to support the cleanup it will encourage active participation.

“We encourage our industry partners, tourists, and residents to join hands in preserving the beauty of our coastal region. Our thoughts are with those directly affected by this incident, and we extend our gratitude to the first responders and environmental agencies working tirelessly to contain and clean up the spill. We will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds and pledge our ongoing commitment to the recovery and revitalization of our cherished coastal destination,” it said.

Meanwhile, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine says he may declare the oil spill on the island a tier three disaster by today.

Augustine said his team was preparing to officially classify the severity of the incident at a higher level, which means President Christine Kangaloo will be able to declare the incident a national emergency.

In such a scenario, the ODPM, through the Ministries of National Security, Foreign Affairs and Finance, will co-ordinate the acquisition of regional and international aid.

Augustine said the United Nations has already reached out to THA officials to offer assistance, while clean-up volunteers have increased to 1,000.

He said the current is also pushing the vessel to shore and the THA fears it may cause more damage to the reef and eventually reach closer to the shoreline.

“So, while we are using booms, they will try to plug the leak and they are being sent by the Maritime Division. When they are through with that, then they will send other specialists to do the wrecking of the vessel. They will determine the best way to remove the vessel from the site because it cannot stay in that location.”

Augustine said 15 kilometres of coastline had been affected by the spill’s deposit. The spill started 16 kilometres off Tobago’s coastline and large corals were broken off on the reef where the vessel initially overturned.