By: Fabakary B. Ceesay
It seems like the Government of the Gambia and its institutions cannot contained and does not have the ability and means to clean up more than Seventy (70) tons of oil that was spilled in the Gambian waters by a vessel at Mandinary oil depot, affecting more than 50 Kilometres of River Gambia, had to seek international support to clean up the pollution in line with National Oil Spill Contingency plan.
The said international support will be sought from the Republic of Senegal on the hope that Senegal has a long experience with oil exploration and experience in dealing with such massive oil spills.
Trumpet newspaper is reliably informed that, the oil spill that happened on 28th May 2022, had prompted an emergency meeting of stakeholders on 4th June, at Gam Petroleum depot, recommended that officials of the Ministries of Petroleum and Environment to contact their respective Ministers to lead the process of establishing contact with the relevant Senegalese authorities through their Embassy in the Gambia.
That a ground survey team of National Environment Agency (NEA), National Disasters Management Agency (NDMA), Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA) and Gam Petroleum to survey the shoreline from a boat towards Pirang to spot traces of the spill to have an understanding of the extent of the spill which will be assisted by Gambia Navy.
Trumpet has also learnt with dismay that the spill can affect the northern coastline of the North Bank Region as well as the Kombo South coastline and environmental inspectors are already consulted to monitor these areas for traces of the oil spill.
Members at the said meeting agreed that UNITAR to facilitate assistance with an aerial mapping of the extent of the spill along the possible sources and urged Gam Petroleum for the need to update its oil spill response plan as a matter of importance and urgency.
That GP to acquire equipment that can effectively deal with any oil spill and oil booms and a core of well trained personnel including representatives of regulatory bodies that will respond to any oil spill.
The meeting also recommended that PURA as the licensing authority of the sector, to convene a meeting with NEA, NDMA, MoPE, MECCNAR and GP for the purpose of GP to enhance its capacity in effectively dealing with oil spill.
Stakeholders at the meeting also urged GP to clean up around its depot’s immediate vicinity with removal of contaminated rocks.