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World Fears of ecological disaster grow over stricken oil tanker in Caribbean

19:00  20 october  2020
19:00  20 october  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

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Concerns are growing that an oil tanker carrying millions of gallons of oil could spill its load into the sea between Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago, causing an ecological catastrophe.

a large ship in a body of water: Image: The Nabarima floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility is seen tilted in the Paria Gulf © Fishermen and Friends of the Sea Image: The Nabarima floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility is seen tilted in the Paria Gulf

The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima has lain in the Gulf of Paria since last January when U.S. sanctions on Venezuela made it illegal for companies that operate in the U.S. to trade with the country's state-owned oil company.

Trinidad and Tobago's energy and foreign ministers both told to the Miami Herald newspaper that a team would visit vessel on Tuesday. Trinidadian officials were not immediately available for comment.

80 Million Gallons of Oil, Larger Than Exxon Spill, Dangerously Close to Pouring into Caribbean

  80 Million Gallons of Oil, Larger Than Exxon Spill, Dangerously Close to Pouring into Caribbean The oil is stored aboard the Venezuela-flagged Nabarima vessel, sat idle in the Gulf of Paria since its owner was slapped with U.S. sanctions in January 2019.The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima vessel has been sat idle off the Venezuelan coast since January 2019. Pictures recently emerged showing the FSO vessel floating at an incline, raising fears that it could spill its load into the gulf devastating the regional fishing industry and delicate ecosystems.

The Nabarima is carrying 1.3 million barrels of crude oil, according to Venezuelan politicians and green activist groups. With up to 80 million gallons of oil, a spill from the vessel could cause an ecological disaster: In the Exxon Valdex spill of 1989, one of the worst oil spills recorded, 11 million gallons were released covering an area twice the size of Rhode Island.

Venezuela has previously said the vessel is safe, but environment activists and politicians say new pictures show it is tilting at an increased rate.

a small boat in a body of water: Image: The Nabarima floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility is seen tilted in the Paria Gulf © Fishermen and Friends of the Sea Image: The Nabarima floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility is seen tilted in the Paria Gulf

Trinidadian environmental group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea, which represents 50,000 people in the local fishing industry, has called for a national emergency. The group visited the ship by boat on Friday and posted a video showing Nabarima tilting and suspended by anchor chains.

An idle Venezuelan tanker with millions of gallons of oil is creating panic in Trinidad

  An idle Venezuelan tanker with millions of gallons of oil is creating panic in Trinidad More than 20 months after a Venezuelan oil tanker carrying nearly 55 million gallons of crude oil was abandoned off the country's northern coast following tightened U.S. sanctions, inspectors from neighboring Trinidad and Tobago will finally get a chance to see for themselves if the idle vessel's cargo could lead to a major ecological disaster off the Caribbean coast of South America. Trinidad Trinidad and Tobago’s energy and foreign ministers both confirmed to the Miami Herald that a team will head out Tuesday to visit the Venezuelan-flagged floating storage and offloading vessel Nabarima, which environmentalists say is taking on water and threatening to spill 1.

Gary Aboud, the group's corporate secretary, said in the video: "If something goes on, if we have bad weather, there are a number of circumstances that could causes the vessel to flood, and then we have no recourse."

The Nabarima is jointly owned by the Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and Eni, the Italian oil giant.

PDVSA could not be immediately reached for comment. NBC News approached Eni for comment.

Lawmakers from the Venezuelan National Assembly, who tend to be critical of President Nicolás Maduro, called on the country's government to urgently unload oil from Nabarima to avoid a disaster and said the risk had "increased alarmingly."

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"As a result of the weight and tides the ship is perceived to be more inclined (listing) than what was reported last August," said María Gabriela Hernández Del Castillo, president of the assembly's Environment Commission, in a press release.

The U.S. Embassy in Trinidad and Tobago raised its concerns over the vessel in a statement Friday, warning that a spill "could negatively impact not only the Venezuelan people but also those in nearby countries."

NBC News has approached the Trinidad and Tobago government for comment.

Venezuela has previously denied any problems with Nabarima. In September, the offshore executive director for Venezuela's state oil company, Pedro Figuera, said on Twitter that the Nabarima "complied with environmental and operational standards."

He later dismissed reports that the ship was unsafe as "lies" and said it met the required standards "despite the alleged information from pseudo experts on social networks."

The absurd controversy over Joe Biden’s “transition away from the oil industry” .
Trump wants to make the shift to clean energy sound abrupt and scary.Trump himself put it in the most dramatic terms:

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