Photo of the Nabarima shared on the Facebook page of FFOS
OIL transfer from the FSO Nabarima to another vessel has begun months after an alarm was raised about the vessel’s potential risk of spilling 1.3 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Paria and the Caribbean Sea.
Trinidad and Tobago’s group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) was the first to raise the alarm that has since garnered international attention.
In a press release on Thursday, the FFOS stated that on Tuesday, Reuters and Bloomberg reported that Venezuelan Oil Company (PDVSA) has only now begun transferring oil stored in the FSO Nabarima onto the Icaro.
Bloomberg reported, “PDVSA began transferring oil from the FSO Nabarima on Tuesday, according to two people with knowledge of the situation, who declined to be identified discussing internal matters. The cargo is being unloaded onto a barge before being transported to a smaller crude tanker, they said. The operation will take up to two months, with the barge removing 30,000 barrels a day.”
Reuters published, “The company this week began the first of several transfers from the Nabarima floating storage and offloading facility (FSO), anchored in the Corocoro oilfield off Venezuela’s eastern coast, onto the Inmaculada barge, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
“Authorities from neighboring Trinidad and Tobago toured the vessel in October. They said that while they were satisfied the Nabarima was in stable condition, the offloading process posed risks,” Reuters reported.
In October, a team of experts from Trinidad and Tobago visited the vessel and upon the findings of the report Energy Minister Franklin Khan said the vessel posed no immediate threat and it was recommended that a second visit be conducted in one month’s time.
According to Khan, the report concluded that “The FSO Nabarima was upright and stable with no visible tilt and there was no imminent risk of tilting or sinking at this time.
The vessel is located 17 miles west of the international border between Trinidad and Venezuela in Venezuelan territory in the Gulf of Paria.
The list of questions from the FFOS include:
- Why did the T&T Government report that the oil was being removed two months ago when international reports now indicate that this was not the case?
- What did our independent experts do while on the Nabarima?
- Was anything done to verify whether the oil was in fact being transferred?
- Why hasn’t our Government scheduled the independent expert’s second visit?
- If the Nabarima was stabilised and the oil was being transferred, the Maduro Regime should have had no difficulty in allowing our team of experts to conduct a second visit.
- Is the (Nicholas) Maduro regime covering up the Nabarima’s status?
And the FFOS is also calling on all Caribbean and other related countries, to synchronise their environmental legislation, to formulate regional agreements which address threats to the Caribbean Sea and to establish a regional information and resource sharing network to facilitate easy and transparent communication and response in times of emergency.