Daily Archives: November 8, 2010

What if this happened in Barbados?

Pipeline fire and oil spill in China

One of our long-time readers sent us a link to the Boston Globe article Oil Spill in Dalian, China, and posed the question…

“What if a similar disaster happened at our oil terminal? It could!

What resources would we have? What would be the impact on our main industry, tourism?

We know we need oil. We can talk all we want about alternative energy sources (and we should), but the reality is that Barbados and the world will need oil for a long time to come. We can ease the demand but self sufficiency, if possible, is far in the future and certainly would require different societal values and leadership.

So we must continue to import millions of gallons of petroleum products a year by sea. The Bridgetown fire murders and the Arch Cot cave collapse have exposed the low limits of our ability to respond to localized and relatively simple disasters. (“Simple” meaning in terms of the needed response. The deaths at Arch Cot and Bridgetown were horrific – all the more because they were preventable. What were talking about here is the need for emergency response resources comparing Arch Cot with, for example, 10 miles of west coast beaches smothered in oil while the terminal burns for three weeks. We couldn’t handle it at all.)

In this context, we ask, “What if our oil terminal had a major fire and/or spill?”

China is huge. China can absorb a tragedy like the Dalian fire and oil spill. China can mobilize hundreds of thousands of workers and huge financial resources if it needs to. Barbados? That’s another story.

Please take a moment to read about the China oil terminal fire and spill. Then think about what would happen to Barbados in the same situation – had it been our oil terminal on fire.

Once again folks, we don’t have the answers, but Bajans should be thinking about these issues and planning for the worst.

Unfortunately, as Hurricane Tomas showed us, our government has a track record hoping for the best, rather than planning for the worst.

It’s all about priorities – and consecutive Barbados governments have shown that they would rather fund some dance fete than ensure our fire fighters have the equipment they need to save lives and property.

THAT, my friends, is for truth!

If this was our "Platinum Coast" or Bridgetown? What then?

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Filed under Barbados, China, Disaster, Energy, Environment