Tag Archives: Oil Spill

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

Mega-Disaster oil spill hits Southern USA – Lessons for Caribbean small island nations

The end of the world for many southern USA coastal communities

Unless you’ve been on the planet Mars or in Dodds Prison for the last few days, you know that a BP oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, USA exploded, caught fire and is spewing 5000 barrels of oil a day into the already-not-pristine waters of the Caribbean.

An oil slick the size of the state of West Virginia is starting to come ashore and threatens all along the southern USA coast from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama to Florida. The Mississippi River is covered with oil a mile up from the coast and that’s just the start.

This is the end of the world for many coastal communities because as we saw with the Exxon Valdez in Alaska and the Shell Oil spill in Barbados these disasters kill everything for decades.

President Obama has declared a national emergency and sent in the military to do what they can do, but the magnitude of the spill means that only God could now prevent the total destruction of fisheries and tourism on thousands of miles of coastline.

“BP suggested in a 2009 exploration plan and environmental impact analysis for the well that an accident leading to a giant crude oil spill — and serious damage to beaches, fish and mammals — was unlikely, or virtually impossible.

The Coast Guard estimates now that at least 1.6 million gallons of oil have spilled since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 workers. The environmental catastrophe could eclipse the Exxon Valdez disaster, when an oil tanker spilled 11 million gallons off Alaska’s shores in 1989.”

… from the AP news story BP plan deemed major spill from Gulf well unlikely

Blame Game doesn’t matter right now

Some news stories indicate that the oil rig in question had major problems and safety violations for some time prior to the disaster. Some stories say that the oil rig was an older technology and that the operators were reckless. Some say that the rig met standards (whatever they are) but that nothing at sea is guaranteed 100% safe and secure.

Only the last statement about nothing at sea being 100% safe and secure is obviously true, but none of that matters to the poor folks along the coast who are seeing their lives destroyed. We know from past experience that any lawsuits will take two decades or more to settle. We know from past experience that committee after committee will perform study after study while tens of thousands lose their homes, jobs and businesses. Families will disperse. Lifetimes, even generations, of toil and sacrifice will be destroyed.

But BP British Petroleum will do alright because no doubt the rig was owned and operated by sub-companies with limited assets and even thinner insurance coverage and liability. BP will do alright because the politicians of the United States of America put the long term interests of the ordinary people and the nation secondary to the great god of MONEY and PROFIT.

All of which leads us to former Barbados Minister of Energy and the Environment Elizabeth Thompson.

During her tenure as Environment Minister, Elizabeth Thompson took the lead in auctioning off oil exploration areas around Barbados to multi-national oil companies. The Bajan news media proclaimed exaggerated benefits and mentioned no downside to this sell-a-thon of Bajan sovereignty.

Unnoticed and unmentioned by Liz Thompson and the Bajan news media though, was the fact that Barbados has no environmental legislation, regulations or enforcement organisation to police the oil companies. This disaster that will do so much damage along the US coast could easily have happened to our  beaches.

Imagine the slaughter of our economy if this happened to Barbados!

The days of “let the oil companies do what they want” should be long gone, but as we’ve seen with the Shell Oil pipeline spill along our south coast, our politicians for some reason seem to favour the polluting oil companies over our country’s future.

I wonder why that is? (He said knowingly…)

The oil spill disaster along the southern US coast should be a wake-up call to Bajan citizens. Hear the message well, my friends: our politicians are putting their own interests first over Barbados, and they can do so much damage if we allow them to act without the oversight of average citizens who are concerned for our children’s futures.

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Filed under Barbados, Disaster, Environment, Oil

Barbados Boycotts Abusive Irresponsible Oil Company: TO HELL WITH SHELL!

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

So-Called "Clean-Up" By Shell Oil In Barbados

Boycott Barbados Shell Stations!

We the People, Declare…

1/ Fifteen Years Ago, Shell Spilled At Least A Half A Million Gallons Of Jet Fuel Into The Barbados Water Table. Shell Has Not Cleaned Up The Spill Or Compensated The Immediate Victims

shell-oil-pollution.gifFor the last fifteen years, since 1994,  Shell Oil has been avoiding responsibility for a pipeline leak that spilled at least a half a million gallons of jet fuel into the water table. Their “clean-up” effort has been laughable. This jet fuel has not gone away and even last year water wells within a few hundred feet of a beach were still filled with almost pure kerosene jet fuel. Shell Oil’s response has been to offer Barbados farmers less than one hour of Shell’s profits. Barbados farmers were offered US$2 million in total to be spread among the victims. Shell makes approximately US$3 million per hour.

2/Barbados South Coast Water Table Is Contaminated By Jet Fuel. Our Beaches Are At Risk.

Besides the farmers who lost the use and value of their lands, there has been a vast amount of damage to Barbados as a country. Our water table has been contaminated by Shell and our beaches are still at risk from the pipeline spill.

3/ After 15 Years, It Is Now A Proven Fact That Citizens Cannot Rely Upon Government To Hold Shell Oil Accountable or Force The Company To Clean Up Their Spill

Both the BLP Government of Owen Arthur and Mia Motley and the current DLP government of David Thompson have failed to hold Shell Oil accountable.  Neither the DLP nor the BLP governments implemented any laws that would penalise polluters and make them pay to clean up their mess. Neither the DLP nor the BLP government even passed a simple law compelling pipeline owners to make daily measurements and to report any leakage to the government!

4/ We Refuse To Give Credibility To Strategic Divisions In Shell’s Company And Marketing Structure: Shell is Shell

The current operators of the Shell brand in Barbados argue that their company is not the same company that owned the leaky pipeline. Our response is “Shell is Shell. We shall boycott the Shell brand on Barbados wherever it is found.”

Not One More Bajan Dollar To Shell – Until The Mess Is Cleaned Up, The Farmers Are Compensated, And Shell Acknowledges Its Duty To Pay For Any Future Damages Not Yet Evident.

Further Reading…

How Much Did It Cost Shell Oil To Buy Two Barbados Governments? Without Election Financing Laws, We’ll Never Know

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Crime & Law, Disaster, Energy, Environment