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Oil spill crisis in Caribbean Sea: satellite images reveal escalation

Caribbean oil spill

Satellite imagery from the European Space Agency's Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission has unveiled the worsening situation in the southeast Caribbean Sea following an overturned vessel and oil spill reported over a week ago.

The black and white images depict the partially submerged vessel and the extensive oil slick, now stretching many miles west of the island.

The animation, captured on February 14 at 23:18 CET, illustrates the oil spill's alarming progression, covering over 160 km westward.

The spill is now transcending Trinidad and Tobago's marine area and encroaching into Grenada's southernmost marine region, raising concerns about potential ramifications for neighbouring Venezuela, as highlighted by the European Space Agency (ESA).

Authorities in Grenada, Panama, Aruba, and Guyana have been approached by Trinidad and regional group Caricom to contribute essential information for an investigation into the vessel's origin, intended destination, ownership, and details about an accompanying tugboat. Initial findings suggest the ship embarked from Panama with Guyana as its intended destination.

Trinidad's National Security Ministry conveyed on Wednesday the uncertainty regarding potential casualties in the incident.

The overturned vessel continues to discharge fuel, albeit under control, with a 40-feet (12 m) perimeter established around the wreckage using booms, according to Tobago's Chief Secretary Farley Augustine. He emphasised the challenges in fully addressing the situation due to the lack of information about the fuel quantity and its composition.

Grenada's Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo indicated that Trinidad has sought information from Guyana about the ship's destination, expressing willingness to collaborate if capacity allows. The incident has sparked collaborative efforts from first responders and volunteers, aiming to contain the spill and minimise its impact on Tobago's wildlife.

However, ongoing rescue and cleaning operations reflect the challenges posed by the environmental repercussions on birds and marine animals.

The unfolding crisis underscores the urgency of coordinated regional efforts to manage and mitigate the environmental fallout. As the oil spill extends its reach, attention remains focused on containment strategies and information gathering to comprehend the full scope of the incident's ecological impact.

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TAGS:Oil SpillCaribbean Oil SpillTobago Oil SpillCaribbean Sea
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