EPA investigating oil spill claim offshore Guyana

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Sunday that it is investigating claims of an oil spill offshore Guyana.

The announcement follows video posts made by a Facebook-based news entity ‘Guyana Daily News’, which said it suspected a spill. The videos show a substance in the water offshore, in an undisclosed area.

“A fishing boat is on its way with staff from our Emergency Response Team to the general area as we don’t have specific coordinates, and also an aerial surveillance is being conducted today,” the EPA said.

The regulator also asked that fisherfolk and members of the general public who come in contact with the substance, to take samples of it as well as coordinates of the area in which it is seen.

The EPA said it is doing everything possible to get to the bottom of the matter.

Director General of the Civil Defence Commission (CDC), Lieutenant Colonel Kester Craig said the CDC is awaiting the initial assessment by the EPA. In the meantime, the CDC is working closely with the entity and the National Oil Spill Contingency Committee.

Craig said once there is a detailed understanding of what is happening, the media will be updated.

The government has a National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to employ in cases of emergency.

In one of the videos posted online, a fisherman is heard saying that the substance in the water is causing local fisherfolk lower catches.

On this matter, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mustapha had informed stakeholders in the fisheries sector last month, that the government had already engaged the EPA and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to assist with an analysis to determine the reason(s) for low catches the sector has experienced in recent years. Executive Director of the EPA, Kemraj Parsram said on Sunday that the process has already begun. He said the FAO is taking the lead on the matter and representatives of the FAO and the EPA are expected to meet on Monday