Trinidad yet to find owners of tug involved in Tobago spill

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Authorities in Trinidad and Tobago are still trying to ascertain the owner(s) of the ‘Solo Creed’ – tug involved in the Feb. 7 Tobago oil spill

In a May 23 release, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries said the government received information that the Solo Creed “may have been detained by authorities in Angola.” 

“Minister [Stuart] Young has requested that official correspondence be sent via the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and the Maritime Services Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport to Angolan authorities to verify certain information that has come to hand,” the release said. 

According to Young, the barge has not been registered for six years. 

The incident, initially reported on Feb. 7 by the country’s emergency response agency, raised concerns about environmental damage and risks to both beachgoers and wildlife. The spill impacted many of Tobago’s southern beaches and coastline. 

Workers from Heritage Petroleum Oil and Gas Company clean up an oil spill that reached Rockly Bay beach, in Scarborough, southwestern Tobago, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Akash Boodan)

Initially, it was thought that the barge alone was involved in the spill. Investigations then led to the discovery of the Solo Creed. Trinidad’s Coast Guard (TTGC) in its preliminary investigations had said that both vessels appeared to have been bound for Guyana. TTCG said Guyanese authorities confirmed that neither vessel arrived as anticipated. TTCG confirmed that the barge was being towed by the Solo Creed from Panama. 

The Trinidad government estimated the damage from the spill as high as US$20 million. Trinidad, according to reports, has secured international compensation for ongoing clean-up efforts. 

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