Otaheite

The fishing port at Otaheite Bay, South Oropouche.

Othaheite fishermen and vendors protested on Thursday as they say they are feeling the effects of slow sales after the Couva Marine 2 well ruptured in the Gulf of Paria on July 4.

The fisherfolks claimed that despite the well having been capped by officials, they have lost significant earnings as the public is afraid to purchase the seafood.

They are calling for Ministry of Energy and the Prime Minister for help.

Raffick Khan vice president of the Dow Village South Oropouche Fishing Association said the oil well rupture caused oil and gas emissions to circulate in the Gulf of Paria and head to their area.

He said customers are afraid to eat the seafood and this has affected the livelihood of the fishermen and vendors.

Khan said while the fishermen are consuming the fish, they are asking for officials to conduct proper tests to reassure that the public that the fish is safe.

Khan also said they are hoping to be compensated for “loss of earnings” given the effects of the oil spill.

He said they have been turning to the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries with no recourse.

Another fisherman said: “The reason we are doing this protest is because we have fishes out on the stall which cannot sell. The public and the Government stating it have oil down there and no fish can sell, nobody buying any and all our money going down the drain … The fish is safe to eat but people don’t want to buy the fish.”

The well, which the Ministry of Energy said was not part of Petrotrin’s assets, began emitting hydrogen emissions earlier this month.

Repair works began last week and is expected to last 14 days.

Well-controls specialist from Boots & Coots Services, who has over 40 years’ experience in well control services, has been offering technical advice to State-owned Petrotrin on the matter.

The decommissioned well is located 4.5 nautical miles off the coast in the Orange Field.

The Ministry has advised that the marine craft operators and other users of the seas maintain a three nautical miles radius of the well during the period of works.

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