PORT-OF-SPAIN: The vice president of Petrotrin’s refinery and marketing department has been suspended pending investigations into the recent oil spill in the southern town of Marabella.
Petrotrin chairman, Lindsay Gillette, said vice president Mado Bachan was suspended with pay and other suspensions are expected.
The oil spillage resulted from a ruptured oil tank at the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery and the collapse of a bund wall which was supposed to contain spilled oil from the tank.
Petrotrin has announced the appointment of an independent auditor to conduct further investigations on the leaking tank.
“When this board was appointed, it set up an asset maintenance and optimisation committee to look at asset integrity issues,” said Gillette. “This committee will now be expanded to include independent consultants and investigators to look at all asset integrity issues. I call upon the president to provide all inspection reports to this committee and for management to cooperate fully.”
The spill in Marabella has caused discomfort to over 200 residents and is expected to cost Petrotrin at least TT$5 million (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents), said Petrotrin president, Khalid Hassanali.
Last week, president general of the Oilfields Workers’ Trade Union, (OWTU) Ancel Roget, said Petrotrin was attempting to cover up its failings to properly maintain the tank by hiding documents, copies of which were obtained by the OWTU.
Hassanali had said the OWTU was correct in its information regarding the tank but there was nothing to hide.
The oil spillage was the second major oil spill at the state-owned refinery facilities. In December, approximately 7,000 barrels of fuel oil were spilled into the Gulf of Paria.