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?


Filed under Barbados, China, Disaster, Energy, Environment

3 responses to “What if this happened in Barbados?

  1. Pingback: International News » What if this happened in Barbados? « Barbados Free Press

  2. who me?

    I have heard about BNOC and the Port doing drills for oil spill containment (probably about once a year) I do know they have the booms, I don’t know about dispersants.

  3. Diagenesis

    While this question is posed as a what-if situation, its quite valid. Mainly, B’dos has shown some interest in marine exploration. I read somewhere that the government may reopen the biding for offshore blocks sometime in the near future with an eye on China. Hopefully, we would have learned from our experience with Shell (ch ch underground leak) and develop the necessary infrastructure. I think this can be accomplished by way of a partnership agreement at the onset.

    The very sad thing here however, is, as shown with Arch Cot, none of this (beach erosion, cave collapse, lost of open space,…) is taken seriously. we just have a bunch of exploiters trying to make a dollar while hiding from their responsibility to do it in a safe manner.

    There are a lot if lessons out there to learn and one day we’re going to learn one, hopefully, we pull through.