The Voice Newspaper has been reliably informed that the Joint Stakeholders Committee responsible for the cleaning of the oil spillage that occurred at Mandinary Fuel Depot has been suspended due to the ongoing rainy season.
On Saturday 28th May 2022, MT FT Sturla Vessel while discharging Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) at Mandinary Fuel Depot leaked more than seventy thousand (70, 000) liters of HFO into the river Gambia resulting in the formation of a Joint Stakeholders Committee vested with the responsibly of cleaning the spillage.
The Committee comprises of GamPetroleum, Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA), National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), and the National Environmental Agency disclosed in its press conference held on 10th June 2022, of embarking on cleaning the oil spillage.
The Joint Stakeholder Taskforce Committee commenced the much talked about cleaning exercise on 12th June 2021, which lasted for only two days and since then no other cleaning exercise take place, this medium gathered.
“Right now there is no cleaning of the oil spillage taking place in and around KunkujangvJattaya. We only saw them (Joint Stakeholders Taskforce Committee) twice doing the cleaning but since then they have not returned here,” Jankey Jatta, Oyster collector, disclosed.
She added: “We spoke with them when they first came here and we were promised that they are working on compensation for us but now we are yet to see them. We have been seating since then because the oil spillage has affected the working area that prevent us from making any income since it occurred.”
She called on the Gambian Government to come to their aid to facilitate their compensation for the damage spillage has caused to their livelihoods, noting that most oyster collectors live from hand to mouth couple to family expenditures that they take care of.
Lamin Komma, Head of Environment and Maritime Resources at the National Environment Agency (NEA) confirmed to this medium that the Joint Stakeholders Taskforce Committee suspended the cleaning of the oil spillage, noting that the decision was anchored on the continuous downpour that makes it virtually impossible to proceed with any meaningful activity.
According to him, the committee is currently working hard to complete an assessment of the areas affected by the oil spillage, adding that once the rainwaters are subdued the committee will proceed with the cleaning of the spillage.
The Head of Environment and Maritime Resources continued that the committee is well aware of the plight of the oyster collectors, noting that the activities of the oyster collectors are currently at the lowest stage because of the rains when the oyster collection is usually suspended.