Spilled oil offshore Tobago was reportedly destined for Guyana Power Company; VP Jagdeo wants “full-fledged” investigation

Spilled oil offshore Tobago was reportedly destined for Guyana Power Company; VP Jagdeo wants “full-fledged” investigation

by Gordon Moseley

Multiple sources close to the Guyana Government and the state-owned Guyana Power and Light Company have revealed to News Source that the vessel, Gulfstream, which overturned offshore Tobago, spilling oil into the sea, was destined for Guyana with fuel for the Guyana Power and Light Company.

GPL has not issued any statement on the matter. However, a source close to power company confirmed to News Source that there may have been arrangement for the fuel to be supplied to the company, but the arrangement may have been shelved. No other detail was offered.

The vessel which capsized and overturned into the sea off the coast of Tobago, has spilled gallons of oil into the sea, causing a major headache and clean-up exercise for the authorities in Trinidad and Tobago, costing millions of dollars.

Both Guyana and the twin-island Republic are investigating the incident, since the crew of the vessel and a barge that was accompanying the vessel that overturned, are still to be located.

Today, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo told News Source that there is need for a full probe with regard to the incident and the possible links to the Guyana Power and Light company.

“We should have a full fledge investigation, and we want to establish what the facts are. And if the fuel was to come to GPL, we should know about that. But from what they have said, so far they have said to us that they had no agreement with any company that has been identified globally, these are the companies that own the tug and the name of the vessel that has overturned in Trinidad and Tobago, they have no commercial engagement with them”, Vice President Jagdeo said.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

News Source has learnt that while there may have been no engagement or agreement with the companies that own the overturned vessel or the barge that was accompanying it, there was reportedly a deal with local individuals to supply the fuel to the power company. Those individuals are believed to have contracted the vessel and the barge to ship the fuel to Guyana for sale to GPL.

Vice President Jagdeo said the state-owned Power Company should make its records and contracts available.

“GPL should make available to you, all of the information, these were publicly tendered, and they should make that available and who won the contracts”, he said.

There is also concern tonight about the source of the fuel that was spilled. Marine tracker websites show the vessel which capsized off the coast of Tobago, spilling fuel into the sea, was picked up in satellite images in Pozuelo Bay, Venezuela, during the entire final week of January.

It is suspected that more than 35,000 barrels of fuel might have been purchased from Venezuela, which would be against current US sanctions against that country.

Vice President Jagdeo said he is unaware of the source of the fuel.

The tank barge Gulfstream (7734143), which capsized off the coast of Tobago was seen in Pozuelo Bay, Venezuela during the entire final week of January.

“I am not sure about where the fuel was bought, but the thing is, is that GPL can easily give you the dates when we tendered, the bids they received, who won the bids and the contractural arrangements we had with them, full transparency on this matter”, Mr. Jagdeo told News Source.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, who holds Ministerial responsibility for GPL, when questioned by News Source today about the reports of the spilled fuel being destined for GPL, explained that conversations on that matter are ongoing.

“As far as I am aware, all of those conversations have been ongoing between the relevant stakeholders and that is what I will say at this time”, Edghill said.

Meanwhile, Maritime sources, who have been probing the satellite images recorded by tanker tracker websites, have revealed that the last images of the vessel being towed were captured just two days before the catastrophic oil spill.

It is also believed that based on the satellite images captured, the vessels were being tracked throughout their journey and just before the spill.

The Trinidadian authorities have been working closely with the authorities in Guyana on the probe into the oil spill, as they attempt to ascertain ownership of the overturned vessel and the whereabouts of the crew.

On January 18, 2024, satellite images captured the Solo Creed/Ranger towing the Gulfstream

Two days ago, the investigations took another twist when packets of cocaine were found floating in the sea close to the overturned vessel that dumped oil into the sea. Investigators in Trinidad and Tobago are probing a possible link.

Meanwhile, prominent Georgetown businessman, Mohamed Qualander of the Queensway Company, distanced himself from ownership of the vessels associated with the oil spill and any linkages to trading fuel.

In a statement, he said he has never owned any fuel boat and has never been involved in the trading of fuel in Guyana or anywhere else in the world. He made it clear that he has no knowledge of the vessels involved in the incident.

The statement by the businessman was issued after an anonymous Facebook page named him as someone linked to the vessel that cause the oil spill. He said he has since filed a Police complaint over the social media post.

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