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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

U.S. expresses concern over tilting oil vessel near T&T, supports efforts to avert potential disaster

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The United States through its Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago said on Friday it is concerned by the potential risk to safety and environment posed by the Venezuelan-flagged vessel, Nabarima, in the Gulf of Paria.

The Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) ship has been tilting precariously in the Gulf of Paria with 1.3 million barrels of crude onboard.

“We strongly support immediate actions to bring the Nabarima up to international safety standards and avoid possible environmental harm, which could negatively impact not only the Venezuelan people but also those in nearby countries,” the Embassy said in a statement. “PdVSA has a responsibility to take action to avoid an environmental disaster in Venezuelan waters.”

The Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) had written to T&T authorities appealing for the situation to be urgently addressed before catastrophe befalls the Nabarima.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, FFOS said it had spoken to representatives of the US Embassy and have been assured that T&T does not risk US sanctions should it seek to lend humanitarian and environmental aid to the Maduro Regime.

“As a general matter, the United States’ Venezuela sanctions program is not designed to target activities addressing safety, environmental, or humanitarian concerns,” the statement from the Embassy said. “These activities to avert an ecological disaster are consistent with U.S. policy to support the Venezuelan people and avoid further harm to the environment.”

T&T’s Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs said Friday since learning of reports that there had been tilting of the Venezuelan oil storage vessel the government has engaged in consistent action in the best interest of its citizens.

A T&T inspection team is ready to proceed and the government continues to press the Venezuelan authorities for access to the FSO Nabarima as soon as possible, the Ministry stated.

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