CAY BAY: Nature Foundation responded to a major heavy fuel oil spill originating from GEBE’s power plant in Cay Bay on Tuesday. Upon arrival at the scene, a thick slick of oil was found extending nearly four kilometers toward Simpson Bay and the Caribbean Sea.
The Foundation tried to mitigate the spill using its available absorbent supplies. However, the size of the spill required immediate professional clean-up in order to contain the spill before it washed out to sea, unfortunately professional containment was not available. The foundation staff and volunteers used an estimated 1,000-plus absorbent pads and several booms to combat the spill, only an estimated one per cent of it could be cleaned up, the remaining passed to open sea.
This was a major spill and there will be long lasting effects on the environment in the Caribbean Sea.
GEBE has hired Aquatic Solutions and set out booms to collect oil around their spill site late Tuesday morning, however the efforts were limited due to the size of the incident.
The foundation continued to monitor the situation on Wednesday and found that most of the clumped heavy fuel oil had drifted out to sea far beyond St. Maarten’s territory, while some very small amounts of residue remain.
The Nature Foundation is working on a formal report to inform government of the incident.