By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE Government of Trinidad and Tobago should make every effort to ensure that no contents of the Venezuelan vessel the Nabarima are spilled into the ocean even if international pressure has to be applied.
This was the appeal made by President of the American Chamber of Commerce Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) Patricia Ghany during the opening of the chamber’s virtual Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Conference and Exhibition on Monday.
Several organisations have already called on the government to intervene including Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS).
Ghany said, “On the environment front, we are facing an imminent environmental disaster of gargantuan proportions in the form of the Nabarima. That floating offshore storage vessel needs to be offloaded.
“What happens to the oil after, can be worked out but we believe our government should use every available avenue including international pressure if necessary to ensure that the Venezuelan government and the Italian company ENI, offload the oil and stabalise the Nabarima to protect our environment.”
She said, “Should a spill occur if the vessel was to sink, the environments of several countries including T&T, Guyana, Suriname and possibly some of the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) countries would be in grave danger. The effects will be felt for decades and even maritime traffic would be affected. We simply cannot allow this to happen. Our Government must act and let the country indeed the international community know what is being done and by when to avert this potential environmental catastrophe.”
The theme for this year’s conference is Resilience.
Ghany said now was a good time to prepare for the future in the middle of the pandemic.
“We must immediately plant the seeds for short, medium and long-term survival, today, to achieve growth and success. But to do this, will require a strong measure of resilience in our efforts to move past this pandemic,” she said.
About health and safety practices, Ghany said, “What I would say to my private sector colleagues is that now is not the time to cut back on training or HSE. Remember to ask yourself whether the cost of not training outweighs the cost of having an untrained or undertrained employee in the role. I think we all know the answer. And as an absolute rule, we either do it safely or not at all.”
The chamber’s president added that AMCHAM T&T continues to share knowledge and industry best-practice advice, theories, ideas and concepts that will transform how business operations will be in the “new normal.”
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