Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) officials have visited Grand Bahama's South Riding Point terminal to assess the oil spill and damage inflicted by Hurricane Dorian.
The corporation, in a statement following its Tuesday inspection, said five of South Riding Point's ten storage tanks had lost their roofs due to the devastating storm, which had led to oil being blown on to surrounding land. At the time Dorian struck Grand Bahama, there were 1.8m barrels of oil stored in three tanks.
The oil storage and transhipment facility is owned by StatOil/Equinor, and sits on several hundred acres of land leased from the government and managed by BAIC.
The visiting BAIC officials included chairman, Bishop Gregory Collie, who was accompanied by Board members Kim Carey-Gibson, Vernal Martinborough, Khalil Parker, Keith Carroll and Ethan Adderley, together with acting general manager, Debbie Strachan, and assistant general managers, Kervan Culmer and Gaylord Ingraham.
Bishop Collie said the damage appeared to be extensive to the terminal storage tanks, the administrative building and other facilities at South Riding Point.
"While we were there, it appeared that some clean up had commenced as a single truck was seen cleaning up oil from the property," Bishop Collie recalled, adding that "an assessment team was on a helicopter in the air trying to ascertain the extent of the damage."
StatOil/Equinor has confirmed that the terminal sustained damage from the hurricane, and that oil has been spotted on the ground at the terminal site and in neighbouring areas. The company said it has secured vessels and equipment for oil spill response, and that clean-up and remediation has started.
Bishop Collie said BAIC has been in close contact with Equinor management to ensure clean-up efforts started as quickly as possible and were performed properly.
BAIC added that it will continue to monitor the situation closely, and hopes there has been no irreparable damage to the environment.
Bishop Collie said it would be interesting to know what hurricane strength the tanks were designed to withstand, and whether StatOil/Equinor had contingency plans in place for a catastrophic event such as Hurricane Dorian.