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Drilling For Oil In The Bahamas Would Be A Disaster

EDITOR, The Tribune

The recent oil spill on the southeast coast of Mauritius is a reminder that drilling for oil in The Bahamas is a recipe for disaster.

On July 25, 2020 the Japanese owned mv Wakashio sustained damage when it hit and destroyed a coral reef near Pointe D’Esny, a sanctuary for rare wildlife and important wetlands.

At the beginning of August, oil leaking from the ship turned the colour of the ocean from pristine turquoise to thick dark toxic waste. A state of environmental emergency was declared and a unique, bio-diverse marine ecosystem was polluted with more than 1,000 tonnes of diesel and oil.

Insufficiently equipped to handle the disaster, the people of Mauritius attempted to reduce the damage of the oil spill by making absorbent barriers stuffed with straw, leaves and human hair.

On August 15 the ship broke into two pieces. Photos of the devastation are heart-breaking.

In a short period of time, 35 years of work by the wildlife foundation to restore the area has been compromised and ruined. Jean Hugue Gardenne of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation says: “We have planted about 200,000 indigenous trees to restore the coastal forest. We re-introduced endangered birds, including the pink pigeon, the olive white-eye and the critically endangered Mauritius fody to the Isle aux Aigrettes. Now all this is threatened as the oil is seeping into the soil and the coral reefs.”

Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager summarizes the catastrophe by saying: “Thousands of species around the pristine lagoons of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg are at risk of drowning in a sea of pollution, with dire consequences for Mauritius’ economy, food security and health.” He adds: “Mauritians had nothing to gain from the mv Wakashio crossing their waters and are now asked to pay the price of this disaster.”

The tragic reality currently faced by Mauritians is the reality that Bahamians will inevitably experience if Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) – or anyone – drills for oil in The Bahamas.

Registered in The Isle of Man, BPC shows maps on its website of 100% BPC Southern Licences, 100% BPC Northern Licence, 100% BPC Applications Pending, and Proposed Drilling Locations in The Bahamas.

Simon Potter, Chief Executive Officer of BPC writes: “The Company has a clear and unambiguous obligation under its licences to drill an initial exploration well in The Bahamas during 2020. Discharge of this obligation will then allow the Company to enter the next exploration period, running for a further three years, and in the event of success seek a 30-year production lease that would allow for development of any discovered commercial reserves.”

Drilling was scheduled for the beginning of 2020, but COVID-19 and the hurricane season forced BPC to postpone its plans until the end of 2020. Although Mr. Potter would like to reassure Bahamians that BPC’s oil project is safe and beneficial for The Bahamas, it’s time to face the facts and tell it like it is:

  1. The process of drilling and shipping oil in The Bahamas is not safe, will never be safe, and will not benefit Bahamians.

  2. Drilling for oil is not going to reduce or solve our problems; it will only exacerbate and create more problems.

  3. This is our country. Visitors are welcome to visit but not to take over, exploit or destroy The Bahamas.

  4. We must educate and invest in Bahamians, and we must work together to protect and preserve our natural resources. Our lives and future generations depend on it.

  5. Swift and decisive action must be taken now to ensure that oil drilling is banned in The Bahamas.

FORWARD, UPWARD, ONWARD, TOGETHER

Nassau,

August 26, 2020

Comments

DDK 2 months ago

Quite right. Let's hope that, for once, evil Government greed and corruption do not prevail...

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Porcupine 2 months ago

Agree 100%. Any leader with wisdom and dignity would speak to this matter immediately.

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proudloudandfnm 2 months ago

That was not an oil rig, that was a ship.

FYI we have oil tankers sailing thru our waters every single day of every single year. The main shipping lane passes right thru the Bahamas.

We have oil terminals on GB pumping millions of gallons of oil daily as well. We had two anyway doubtfull stat oil will reopen.

Point is we live with the threat of an oil spill every day and that is not going to change, ever. So we may as well embrace this opportunity and enjoy some benefits. My resume is ready to go....

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joeblow 2 months ago

... the spill of oil is quite different from drilling a hole in the oceans floor and having oil seep up. Both disastrous, the latter far worse!

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Bahama7 2 months ago

Point 2 - Billions of dollars into the Bahamas sovereign wealth fund would definitely help the Country right now.

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Porcupine 2 months ago

Point 3. It will never amount to more than a few cents for Bahamians just prior to many having to move because of sea level rise. Your eye is off the ball and solely on the non existent money.

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Porcupine 2 months ago

I believe you are Simon Potter.

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Voltaire 1 month ago

Bahama7 is a BPC troll. This username has only ever commented on oil drilling stories to support the foreign company.

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Voltaire 1 month ago

Billions? What billions? Lol. We only get something if they outperform the own profit projections, which the can set as high as they want so as to avoid having to pay us. "So sorry, missed those projections again. We did make a billion, but because our projection was one billion and ONE dollars, all that profit is for us, none for you. Please buddy. Take that somewhere else. This ain't Africa.

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