Environment

NEPA OK with oil-spill clean-up

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

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The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) advised yesterday that it was satisfied with the clean-up of the oil spill which happened in the Montego Bay Freeport last Thursday night.

The incident, which was confined to berths 1 and 2, caused an oil sheen covering the area of about two football fields and blanketed the immediate surroundings with a heavy smell of gasoline.

Senior manager in NEPA's Environmental Management Subdivison Richard Nelson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that based on the agency's investigations, the spill was not direct.

“There were bunkering activities [the transfer of fuel from ship to port, or vice versa] going on and during that process there was some spillage in the containment area. So it wasn't a direct spillage into the marine environment. But on the night in question it rained heavily and from all indications the sump got overwhelmed and a mixture of rainwater and oil flowed out and entered the marine environment,” he explained.

The oil was a mixture of 87 and 90 grade gasoline as well as diesel oil.

As far as physical impacts, Nelson said none has so far been observed in terms of a fish or water bird kill. He explained, however, that species that couldn't escape, such as fish larvae, would undoubtedly be contaminated.

“Once there is oil in water there will be some impact... We do expect that the marine fauna will be impacted but as to what extaent we can't say at this time,” said Nelson.

NEAP said its teams completed the clean-up by midday on Monday, and that the odour had almost all been dissipated.

“There was only a slight odour when we visited yesterday so we expect that by tomorrow (today) it will be all gone,” said Nelson.

NEPA is the government regulatory body for environment planning.

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