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Fishermen's Concern Over Oil Spillages

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The BAHAMAS Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) has expressed “extreme disappointment” that the organisation has not been brought up to-date on several recent oil spills.

“We are extremely disappointed over the fact that the BCFA, which was supposed to have been a part of the oil spill committee, have not been appraised regarding these latest oil spills or any meetings as to what the contingency plans are for these spills that have been happening off Grand Bahama,” said BCFA president Adrian LaRoda.

“It is a serious concern because I have been getting messages from fishermen, who particularly work in the northern Bahamas, and who are concerned that these things seem to be happening so frequently it’s almost a regular occurrence. We are not being appraised as to what mitigation effort are in place.”

Back in late January more than 200 gallons of oil was spilled into Freeport Harbour from the bunker barge, Smit Inesita. The spill reportedly occurred because of an overflow of light diesel as it was being pumped from the vessel to the Mount Butterfly.

Another oil spill was reported off Grand Bahama last month involving the Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO). The incident occurred near Pinder’s Point.

BORCO said a pipeline, which is believed to be the source of the spill, contained oily residue as a result of the decommissioning of several pipelines. Bunker C Heavy Fuel Oil was originally pumped through the pipelines.

The most recent incident, which occurred over the weekend, reportedly involved a 75-foot Haitian sloop that sank in Inagua’s Matthew Town Harbour, spilled a mixture of diesel and oil into the water.

“We want to know what’s happening. It’s a concern for fishermen; they want to know particularly when you have a national issue looming regarding oil exploration,” said Mr LaRoda, noting that these occurrences raised serious environmental concerns among local fishermen.

“If this is the way it’s going to be done it will tell you where the BCFA is going to stand on discussions on oil drilling and oil exploration,” said Mr LaRoda.

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