While Equinor has announced that it is preparing to clean up its South Riding Point storage and transhipment terminal, after Hurricane Dorian just one week ago blew the tops off several of its oil storage units and littered the area in East Grand Bahama with hundreds of gallons of oil, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) noted its continued concern for the environment in the area.
The BNT in a statement released over the weekend explained that it plans to visit the site to carry out its own assessment of the oil-stained area.
“We’re all focused primarily on the human element of this tragedy,” BNT’s statement noted.
“The Bahamas National Trust is particularly concerned about a major oil leak from the Equinor/South Riding Point oil storage facility in East Grand Bahama, as confirmed by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“We understand the company is developing a plan to deal with the leak and a team from the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC) has been dispatched to assess the situation.”
The statement explained that the BNT is concerned about ground water contamination in the area, as hydrocarbons “can have long-lasting impacts on communities and the people”. It added that oil also kills plants and animals.
“BNT staff hope to confirm the extent of the leak that is visible above ground,” the statement noted.
“However, in the quickest time possible, the BNT intends to ensure that proper assessments of the full extent of the spill and impact to the wildlife are carried out.
“The BNT encourages the government to hold the company, Equinor, fully accountable. It is our view that Equinor must fund the costs of these assessments, all recovery efforts and to establish long-term monitoring programs to ensure the communities do not suffer from prolonged hydrocarbon exposure.”
Equinor said in a press statement released over the weekend that it is mobilizing its resources to safeguard people, the environment and the facility.
Wind from the Category 5 hurricane skimmed oil off the top of the storage units for hours. Equinor’s release noted there are no signs of continued leaks, or that oil was able to escape into the ocean.
Photos and video seem to show that the wind pushed the oil inland.
“Equinor will clean up the spills from the South Riding Point oil terminal,” the company’s release stated.
“The South Riding Point oil terminal has sustained damage from the hurricane and oil has been observed on the ground at the terminal site and in neighboring areas. The size of the spill is not yet clear.
“Based on current visual assessments, there are no indications of continued oil leakage from the tanks or of oil spills from the terminal to the sea or beaches. Further examination is ongoing to assess the full impact of the spill.
“Security personnel is on-site at the terminal working to secure the area and identify potential hazards.”