Tilting Venezuela oil tanker threatens 'environmental catastrophe'

Venezuelan Oil Tanker Carrying 1.3 Million Tons of Crude Risks Sinking in Caribbean				1		
			eldiario  TwitterBen Kew22 Oct 2020

The double-hulled tanker is "intact and poses a minimum risk of any oil spills at this time", Khan said.

Lawmakers from the Venezuelan National Assembly, who tend to be critical of President Nicolás Maduro, called on the country's government to urgently unload oil from Nabarima to avoid a disaster and said the risk had "increased alarmingly".

On Friday the U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago issued a statement calling for "immediate actions" to prevent the potential disaster, stressing that the United States' Venezuela sanctions program is not created to target activities addressing safety, environmental, or humanitarian concerns.

"Barbados continues to monitor the situation regarding the FPSO Nabarima and is in contact with our regional partners in Trinidad and Tobago and the United Nations Regional Coordinating Unit". It is stationed between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, in the Gulf of Paria.

Minister of Energy and Energy Industries Franklin Khan said a team of experts from his country inspected the Nabarima - a floating storage and offloading facility (FSO) - on Tuesday, allaying previous fears that it was on the brink of sinking and spewing 1.3 million barrels of oil.

Browne made it clear that the vessel was in Venezuelan waters and Trinidad and Tobago had to go through the various diplomatic channels in order to safeguard its own environment.

"There is no water ingress on the vessel visible to the team".

"There are a number channels of communication that are ongoing so that depending on the details of the report we would be able to take in very short order the proper and required next steps", he said, adding "this has been determined as the best course of action because we need to understand rules and responsibilities".

"The government can not act and operate like an NGO (non-government organisation) or an activist group, which may have a very different threshold for certain types of action".

PDVSA has not commented but last month it branded as "fake news" claims by environmentalists that the Nabarima was in a state of disrepair.

"We strongly support immediate actions to bring the Nabarima up to worldwide safety standards and avoid possible environmental harm, which could negatively impact not only the Venezuelan people but also those in nearby countries". It was anchored permanently in waters between Venezuela and Trinidad.

"There are reports based on the global shipping intelligence that two vessels have lined up alongside the Nabarima offloading its crude".

The Nabarima tanker has lain in the Gulf of Paria between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago since January 2019, when the USA imposed sanctions on Venezuela's socialist regime that outlawed companies based in the us from trading with PDVSA.

"The only challenge we saw to that is that because these vessels have small capacity, the barge only has a capacity of 30,000 and the tanker has a capacity of 300,000, it will take an inordinately long time to empty the vessel".

Just days earlier, there was an unexplained major oil spill believed to be from the El Palito refinery, that spread in a viscous black wave along the Falcón coast, staining the shores of the Morrocoy national park famed for pristine beaches and mangrove wetlands.

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