Event Timeline:
On Wednesday, February 7th, 2024, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) received reports of an overturned vessel in the vicinity of the waters off the coast of Cove Eco Industrial and Business Park Tobago. The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard began an active investigation into the incident. TEMA, in coordination with stakeholders, conducted a preliminary assessment along the coastline. Oil from the vessel had reached the shoreline, leading to the collection of samples for fingerprinting. The samples were sent to the Institute of Marine Affairs to determine the type of product and origin of the oil. The cleanup is being coordinated by TEMA with direct involvement from the Tobago House of Assembly, the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI), the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (OPDM), the Ministry of Works and Transport (MOWT), and the Ministry of National Security (MNS).

First Press Release

By Thursday, February 8th, 2024, the vessel was identified as the Gulf Stream by visual inspection but an IMO vessel number was not found.
Press Release

By Sunday, February 11th, 2024, trained personnel from Heritage Petroleum, a state-owned oil company based in Trinidad, were involved in clean up efforts and oiled wildlife management. Specialists from Oil Spill Response Limited were advising TEMA on response strategies by Monday, February 12th, 2024.
Press Release

The Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard has confirmed that two vessels, the Gulf Stream and the Solo Creed, have been involved in the oil spill incident.
Press Release 

On February 14th, 2024, it was reported that oil slicks had drifted in Grenada’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Press Release

In a press conference on February 14th, 2024, the Chief Secretary of THA announced that neighboring countries have been notified by the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs.
Briefing
Media

By February 16th, 2024, GIS maps highlight the extent of the oil slick drift into Venezuela’s EEZ.
Press Release

On February 16th, 2024, RAC-REMPEITC conducts two virtual volunteer training sessions, coordinated through MOWT Maritime Services Division.
Press Release

On February 17th, 2024, Grenada announces continued monitoring of the spill in the Grenadian EEZ with coordination of regional partners including RAC-REMPEITC.
Media

On February 20th, 2024, MEEI announces the partnership of T&T Salvage and QT Environmental as the hired OSRO and Salvage Master to address the Gulfstream.
Press Release

On February 23rd, 2024, MEEI announces that preliminary fingerprinting results from IMA indicate that the product is a Bunker C intermediate fuel oil.
Press Release

On February 29th, 2024, the Bonaire Acting Lieutenant Governor announced impacted shorelines from the Tobago spill. Oil samples were to be collected and compared to the Tobago samples for confirmation.
Press Release

On March 7th, 2024, TEMA announced that the flow of oil from the Gulfstream has ceased, confirmed via underwater survey.
Press Release

 

RAC-REMPEITC Support During the Response:
On February 11th, 2024, RAC-REMPEITC was notified of the oil spill by MOWT’s Maritime Services Division. RAC-REMPEITC was requested to provide volunteer training for the approximately 100 volunteers actively engaged in shoreline cleanup efforts. This training was conducted in two separate sessions on February 16th, 2024, by RAC-REMPEITC staff and an industry consultant.

RAC-REMPEITC closely coordinated with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago to provide technical expertise to the task force of UN agencies assembled to assist Trinidad and Tobago.

On February 16th, 2024, representatives of Grenada requested additional information on the Trinidad and Tobago spill. RAC-REMPEITC hosted a meeting between the Grenada Ports Authority, the Grenada National Disaster Management Agency, and the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA) in Trinidad. IMA provided satellite imagery and information from the oil fingerprinting to the officials from Grenada.

On February 19th, 2024, representatives of Barbados requested additional information on the spill. RAC-REMPEITC facilitated the sharing of information between IMA and the Barbados Environmental Protection Department.

On February 27th, 2024, representatives from Bonaire requested information on the chemical makeup of the oil spilled and oil sample fingerprinting coordination. RAC-REMPEITC coordinated information sharing between IMA and Bonaire’s Harbormaster.

RAC-REMPEITC is the Regional Activity Center based in Curacao which is responsible for implementing the Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Combating Oil Spills in the Wider Caribbean Region (Oil Spill Protocol) of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention). Annex V of the Oil Spill Protocol requires contracting parties to make notifications in the event of an oil spill:

“In the event of receiving a report regarding an oil spill incident, a Contracting Party shall immediately notify all other Contracting Parties whose interests are likely to be affected by such incident, as well as the flag State of any ship involved in it. The Contracting Parties shall also inform the competent international organizations. Furthermore, as soon as feasible, it shall inform such Contracting Parties and competent organizations of measures it has taken to minimize or reduce pollution or the threat thereof.”