On Sunday, 03 March, 2013 at approximately 6:30 a.m. officials from Matthew Town, Inagua discovered that a 75’ Haitian sloop had sunk in the harbour and spilled a mixture of diesel and oil. The vessel reportedly sank some time during the course of the night apparently due to adverse weather conditions. The wooden Haitian sloop in question was recently confiscated after a drug enforcement operation. The amount of fuel spilled is approximately 220 gallons of a mixture of oil and diesel fuel.
Assistance in responding to the incident has been rendered by Morton Salt with the supply of oil spill equipment in conjunction with members from the Department of Environment Health Services and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
A team of response personnel from the Port Department was poised for immediate mobilization to Matthew Town, Inagua; however, inclement weather conditions hampered that response.
Officials from the Port Department stand ready with oil spill equipment and will depart for Matthew Town, Inagua early tomorrow morning, weather conditions permitting. The Port Officials will monitor, assist and supervise the clean-up in conjunction with the Department of Environment Health Services and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
The Ministry of Transport and Aviation is presently reviewing the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan for the Commonwealth of The Bahamas with a view to strategically positioning oil spill equipment throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Oil spill response equipment has been obtained by the Port Department to ensure that there is response equipment available to The Bahamas Government to respond to oil spills. This incident in Inagua, our southern most island highlights the importance of now ensuring that islands are strategically provided with oil spill response materials and equipment throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and also that protocols are put in place for decommissioning fuel from arrested vessels in similar circumstances. The Ministry of transport and Aviation is actively considering this issue as a component of its oil spill preparedness strategy.
The public will be updated as necessary as clean-up efforts continue. An investigation is underway by the Ministry of Transport Aviation.
By Ministry of Transport and Aviation