Grassroots coalition “Our Islands, Our Future”, which is focused on stopping oil drilling in The Bahamas, sounded the alarm that Bahamas Petroleum Company’s (BPC) drillship is on its way to The Bahamas, even as the group is in the process of filing judicial review proceedings to query the oil company’s environmental approvals process, it stated in a press statement yesterday.
“Last night, the 750-foot Stena IceMAX drillship left the Canary Islands en route to Grand Bahama in preparation to drill an extremely dangerous exploratory oil well off the coast of West Andros, near the ecologically and economically important areas of Andros, Cay Sal and the Great Bahama Bank,” the group claimed in its statement.
Ship tracking website marinetraffic.com confirms that the ship has pulled away from the port where it was moored and displays an itinerary that has it bound for Freeport. Our Islands, Our Future warned BPC in letters not to mobilize its operations until the judicial review is completed.
“The ship has been launched in defiance of an official notification that attorneys are in the process of filing,” the Our Islands, Our Future statement claimed.
Member of the steering committee for Our Islands, Our Future and Executive Director of Waterkeepers Bahamas Rashema Ingraham added: “More than a week before the ship sailed, we advised BPC to cease and desist from mobilizing until the courts have an opportunity to consider the matter and warned that a decision to move forward regardless will be undertaken at their own risk.”
Guardian Business understands that BPC has decided against public statements until the judicial review period has ended.
The coalition said it has concerns with the safety record of the Stena IceMAX drillship that is on its way to The Bahamas. The group is hoping to convince the Bahamas government not to move forward with any kind of oil exploration.
Bahamas Reef Environment Education Foundation (BREEF) Executive Director Casuarina McKinney-Lambert said in the statement that she is confident the efforts to stop BPC will succeed.
“More than 100 businesses and organizations are now supporting Our Islands, Our Future and there are 45,000 signatories to our petition,” she said.
“We are convinced that if we continue to stand strong together, we can stop BPC and prevent any future oil drilling in these pristine, ecologically significant waters.”