Guyanese oil spill responder wants marine laws revised

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Gaico Construction and General Services – a Guyanese company investing in marine vessels, skimmers, booms and other oil spill response equipment – wants the Guyana Government to immediately overhaul its marine laws ahead of oil production.

GAICO’s, Chief Executive Officer, Komal Singh, in an interview with OilNOW said he believes government has to be more responsive to this aspect of the industry and to recognize that very shortly there will be a dramatic increase in not only the amount of marine traffic, but the types of vessels being used.

Guyana’s legislation does not take into account a range of concerns, according to Singh.

Following devastating oil spills in the past, “countries like the United States of America have actually banned companies from moving fuel in single hull vessels and you would understand why.”

He told OilNOW, should a single hull vessel transporting fuel become ruptured, all of the fuel would spill into the waterways, whereas a double hulled vessel would offer some level of protection against a complete spill.

Singh outlined too that companies have begun using even more advanced technology with sensors being built into the hulls of vessels used for transporting fuel.

The GAICO CEO had earlier told the inaugural Guyana International Petroleum Exhibition and Summit (GIPEX), “…in the Guyana landscape our waterway is still not the safest… we still see a lot of vessels moving fuel around Guyana in single hull vessels.”

He suggested “gradually we need to move away from that.” Singh was addressing a GIPEX panel with delegates on health, safety and environment, in an oil producing Guyana.

Singh told the delegates Guyana labour laws largely provides for occupational health and safety issues, but “we need enforcement on that side….the new legislation needs to focus on the marine side. We have single hull vessels moving in the water now; there is no legislation in place that stop those from transporting fuel (in Guyana).”

He subsequently told OilNOW the company in addition to being ready to tackle any Teir 1 or Teir II spills, has – through the GIPEX networking platform – held several meetings with international companies with a view to launching a partnership to build on GAICO’s existing capacity.

“The small stuff (oil spills) we can deal with…the intention is to grow bigger, to partner with a foreign company that have more capacity.”

He said, “those things are expensive,” in reference to the oil spill response equipment required and said GAICO is looking to increase its capacity with even more equipment on the ground to deal with larger, possibly Tier III spills. “In case there is a spill we can at least respond as first responders,” he said.

During the course of GIPEX 2018, GAICO “had discussions with quite a few companies who are willing to work with us via partnerships, support services and such like,” he added.

Gaico Construction and General Services launched its oil response venture in 2016 with plans to construct a ‘soil remediation facility’ aimed at treating contaminated fuel retrieved from oil spills.


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