Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood has come out swinging at government for its perceived silence in the wake of an alleged oil spill in Grand Turk waters said to have been emitted by one of the Carnival Cruise liners.
The following is the statement from the opposition leader:
It gives me great reason to be concerned that the Government is not saying anything about the oil spill that happened in the waters of the Turks & Caicos Islands, in particular Grand Turk. No word, nor mention from any of the Ministers or MPs, not a post, not a tweet, no mentions of concern from the Government anywhere.
Additionally, we had a House of Assembly today, and yet no mention from the Hon. Premier nor the Minister responsible for the environment. It seems as if they are afraid to speak to it, why? Are they afraid to call out Carnival Cruise Line? Are they afraid to show true representation of the people’s interests?
I did my research and got most of my information from the Cruise Hive website (https://www.cruisehive.com/carnival-cruise-ship-delayed-after-soot-discharge/114722). They claim to be fully dedicated to providing the latest and breaking cruise news, and that they cover all the major cruise lines based in the United States, UK, Australia, and Europe. The website also states that they post multiple updates daily about the cruise industry backed up by hundreds of articles with tips on cruise ships and ports.
According to Cruise Hive, the spill happened yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, November 1, 2023. They stated that “Carnival Cruise Line crews are in clean-up mode after Carnival Magic accidentally discharged soot while preparing to depart the pier in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. The vessel has been delayed, and the cruise line confirms it’s likely due to a brief power outage.”
They then went on to state, “Passengers onboard Carnival Magic were met with an unexpected situation after the cruise ship discharged soot into the water, causing what initially looked like a significant oil leak coming from the Dream-class vessel.”
A statement, on the site, from a Carnival Cruise Line spokesperson said, “The Carnival Magic team is working on the clean-up of a soot discharge from the ship’s Exhaust Gas Control Systems (EGCS) that occurred while preparing for departure today from Grand Turk. A momentary power outage likely contributed to the incident,”
The site further stated” “The ship’s departure has been delayed while we complete the clean-up, and all appropriate authorities have been informed. We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and will complete the proper clean-up and address any technical issues with the ship’s EGCS equipment. Carnival Magic’s itinerary should not be impacted.”
With all this happening we have silence from the PNP Government. This demonstrates again that they don’t really care about us, the resident of Grand Turk and by extension the people of these beautiful by nature Islands. I am hoping that one of the staff members in either Ministry’s or the Premier’s Office would say “Honorable you really should do a release on this, it is looking bad, I already have one written for you”. Let us see if that should happen.
We all know from seeing examples of past oil spills around the world that they do affect the coastal environment and habitats. We also know that Coral reefs and the marine organisms, in particular juvenile organisms that live within and around the reefs are at risk from exposure to toxic substances within oil as well as from smothering.
Additionally, we know that oil spills can make seafood unsafe to eat and that it takes sound science to clean up oil, measure the impact of pollution, and help the impacted waters recover. Is there a statement from the government mentioning the probability of the spill or its remnants reaching the shores of the TCI?
Honorable Premier, Ministers of Government, this should not be the behavior of a Government elected to serve the people and the country. As elected officials, it is required that you and your team should always be looking out for their best interest, be concerned about the things our people are concerned about, provide them with information whenever available, and discuss problems and solutions with them.
You and Your team have failed the people of the Turks & Caicos once again!!
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