Update on Capsized Vessel off Cove, Tobago

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(MEEi, 29.Jun.2024) — The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries advises that on 28 June 2024, the De-Inventory Phase of operations has been completed. All safely recoverable hydrocarbons from the wreck have been successfully pumped off the capsized barge, amounting to 32,303 barrels.

The De-Inventory phase involved pumping hydrocarbons from the wreck to a temporary storage facility at Cove. The hydrocarbons were then loaded onto Road-Tank-Wagons and transported to the Port of Scarborough, where they were pumped onto a tanker. De-Inventory operations commenced on 13 April 2024, with the first stream of hydrocarbons being received at the Cove facility. The tanker, MV SCOT Munchen, arrived on 20 April 2024 at the Port of Scarborough and began loading operations.

However, once the capacity of the MV SCOT Munchen was reached, the tanker set sail for Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited (Paria) on 6 May 2024 to offload the hydrocarbons into a tank at Paria’s facility. In this first instance, approximately 20,500 barrels were offloaded. The tanker subsequently returned to Tobago to continue loading operations. Adverse weather and sea conditions significantly hampered further de-inventory operations, but through the immense effort of all involved, an additional 11,803 barrels were pumped off the capsized barge and loaded onto the tanker. The tanker completed its last loading operation and set sail for Paria on 27 June 2024.

In the coming weeks, the next phase of the operation will focus on refloating and towing the barge to Trinidad to a designated facility. This will involve ‘blowing’ down the ballast tanks with air to refloat the wreck, allowing it to be towed via tugboats.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries acknowledges the contributions of all stakeholders in the oil spill response, including fisherfolk, energy companies, the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency and the Tobago House of Assembly. The Ministry continues to maintain open dialogue and communication with all respective agencies as efforts now shift to the re-float process, ensuring the safety of all personnel remains paramount.

Aerial View of the Capsized Barge and Temporary Storage Facility at Cove (Source: MEEI)

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MAIN PHOTO CAPTION: Aerial View of the Capsized Barge and Temporary Storage Facility at Cove (Source: MEEI)

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