VP suspended after Trinidad oil spill

VP suspended after Trinidad oil spill

An investigation is probing a spill in Marabella from a ruptured Petrotrin oil tank.

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad The Vice-President of Petrotrin’s refinery and marketing department has been suspended pending investigations into the recent oil spill in the southern town of Marabella.

Petrotrin Chairman Lindsay Gillette told a news conference Trinidad Oil Slickthat vice-president Mado Bachan was suspended with pay and other suspensions were also expected but the number could not be confirmed.

The company also announced the appointment of an independent auditor to conduct further investigations on the leaking tank at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery and a failed bond wall which was expected to contain oil spillage from tanks.

“When this board was appointed, it set up an asset maintenance and optimization committee to look at asset integrity issues. This committee will now be expanded to include independent consultants and investigators to look at all asset integrity issues. I call upon the president to provide all inspection reports to this committee and for management to co-operate fully,” Gillette said.

The spill in Marabella has caused severe discomfort to over 200 residents and is expected to cost Petrotrin at least TT$5 million (One TT dollar = US$0.16 cents), said Petrotrin president Khalid Hassanali.

Meanwhile, president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union (OWTU) Ancel Roget said Petrotrin was attempting to cover up its failings to properly maintain the tank by hiding documents, copies of which were obtained by the OWTU.

Hassanali had said the OWTU was correct in its information regarding the tank but there was nothing to hide.

The spill, which resulted from a ruptured oil tank and the collapse of a bond wall which was supposed to contain the spill, was the second major oil spill at the state-owned refinery facilities. In December, approximately 7,000 barrels of fuel oil were spilled into the Gulf of Paria.