PORT-OF-SPAIN: Six senior employees of the state owned company Petrotrin have been dismissed in the aftermath of oil spills that led to the loss of more than 7,000 barrels of oil last year.
Petrotrin President Khalid Hassanali disclosed the news at a press conference last week to disclose the findings of the investigation into the oil spills that affected hundreds along the southwestern coastline.
Initially, Petrotrin reported there were 11 incidents of oil spills from December 17 to 29. Four of these leaks were related to companies that have joint ventures with Petrotrin – Trinity Exploration and Production Company and Neal and Massy Energy Resources Ltd. The company initially reported that a weld leak developed on the No. 10 Sea Line at the Petrotrin Pointe-a-Pierre port during fuel oil bunkers loading operations for the barge Marabella on December 17.
During the press conference, Hassanali explained how the spill occurred and said the 12 employees were interviewed at least three times for various reasons.
“Twelve were initially suspended,” he said. “Of those 12, six were found to have a lesser level of culpability and six were found to have a very high degree of culpability. And, for those six where the level of culpability weighed very heavily, those six were issued letters of termination from employment at Petrotrin.”
Hassanali said of the six workers who were found to be negligent and careless, two were shift team leaders, there was a port operations officer, a chief supervisor and a foreman. Of the 12 workers suspended, the other six are scheduled to return to work.
However, six other managers were also issued letters of investigation because “asset integrity concern” was a management issue.
Hassanali also announced that Petrotrin welcomes other investigations regarding the oil spill since the company was always “open to scrutiny”.
Meanwhile, the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has called for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to provide all of the records and documentary evidence it had relating to the recent oil spills.
“We in the OWTU, we are very concerned about the consequence of those oil spills and we are concerned that the management, in their desperate attempt to cover up the real cause, the root cause of those oil spills, we are very concerned that the real issues will not come out, and if those issues are not brought to the fore then the national oil company is in great danger of having reoccurrences and so on in the future,” said OWTU president-general, Ancel Roget. “If Petrotrin goes down, then the people of Trinidad & Tobago will lose and therefore we felt that it is our responsibility to not sit idly by and allow the management and the board of directors with its chairman peddle a lot of misinformation to the public in general and of course to their bosses in the Cabinet.”