By Prior Beharry
The Tobago Emergency Operation Centre has been activated at the Orange Level, indicating the need for national assistance in cleanup operations following an oil spill, as reported by the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) on Thursday.
The spill originated from an overturned vessel off the waters of Cove Eco Industrial Park in Tobago, with the incident first reported on Wednesday morning.
TEMA has confirmed that cleanup operations have commenced in the Rockley Bay area, employing oil spill response equipment. Two vessels, including divers, have been deployed at the site.
The release from TEMA identified the overturned vessel as the “Gulfstream,” measuring approximately 300 feet in length and suspected of carrying lumber and sand. The vessel’s registration is unknown.
The superstructure of the vessel has become detached from the ship, possibly lying in the debris field, as indicated in the release. Fortunately, there have been no visible signs of human life or remains.
The Environmental Management Agency has collected oil samples for testing. Divers have observed damage to the reef and beaches along the Atlantic Coast of Tobago have been affected, according to the release.
TEMA advises beachgoers to avoid the area extending from Rockly Bay to Canoe Bay. The situation remains under investigation, and further updates will be provided as the cleanup efforts progress.