Oil spill in Trinidad – we are floating in a horrible ‘national disaster’

There’s been an oil spill in Trinidad. One group is referring to it as a national disaster because of the impact on livelihoods and fish stocks. The oil spill may have started last night as the smell of fuel overpowered us in our beds.

We are moored in Chagauramas, Trinidad. The entire harbour has been affected. I considered staying in a hotel yesterday evening because of the stench. Then, I found myself googling whether I could die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Ultimately, we shut the hatches and fell asleep.

This morning we woke up. The sea was calm and the Chaguaramas harbour was covered in thick oil.

View beneath our boat this morning. Our mooring ball is coated with oil.

The density of the oil is insane.

The Chagauramas harbour is floating with oil. You can scarcely see the water.

A local man told me that the oil should be gone in a week. Still, weekend boaters sped by on their power boats. Their wake was brown and oily. The brown waves rocked our boat and the oil coated our sides.

All the boats in the harbour look about the same in terms of filth. Dinghies are stained and the sides of our catamaran look just as nasty as our neighbour’s boat, which is usually clean.

Our neighbour’s boat: the oil spill has stained the sides of the boats in the harbour.

The sugar scoops of our catamaran are brown where oily water has washed over them. We have to wipe our hands and feet when we are using the dinghy. It is impossible to avoid the oil. Even our toilet water, which relies on salt water is tinged with oil.

I take some pride in keeping our boat looking clean. It’s my job to clean the bottom and the keel. But, this oil spill has left me in despair, and not because of the mess.

Listen, my sister studied environmental science in University. But, I have been known to throw the occasional tin can in the trash. Experiencing the oil spill first-hand has rocked my socks off.

Fish that cluster outside my galley window usually bring me joy, but today I could only feel sadness. While I haven’t seen any dead fish or wildlife, I know that it’s only a matter of time before pelicans, dolphins, turtles and fish will be affected.

Fishermen are affected, the food chain is affected.

The source of the oil spill is still unknown. It worries me that the spill has not yet been stemmed. People can smell the oil as far as the airport, which is about a forty-five minute drive from us.

The oil spill in Trinidad is not an isolated incident. Something has gone terribly wrong. And so far, no one has stepped forward to claim responsibility. Please share this story.


    • We hauled out two days after the oil spill, in the afternoon when the video was taken. We’ve spent 50 hours removing the oil from our boat. We’re not quite done. Fortunately, with a great deal of persuasion – the oil is lifting out of our gelcoat. I think the oil has left the harbour though people are on the watch for oil spills. One person erroneously called in an approaching oil spill only to correct himself later to say that it was a garbage line after a thunderstorm. When we splash we will head out and be gone. There will be no waiting around with the possibility of another oil spill. It was nice to hear from you!


  1. Lorraine this was not an isolated incident. Apparently it haappens every year many times. I feel obliged to warn orher cruisers about it. We are still scraping off the aftermath of 3 spills while we were there. It has turned our antifoul to chewin gum and temoved all the antifoul from the waterline.


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