Pipeline leak leads to Exuma oil spill, Shell says

Sun Oil confirmed late Thursday evening that a pipeline leak is believed to have been responsible for the diesel oil spill which occurred in the Emerald Bay Marina on Monday.

The revelation came via a press statement issued by Clinton Rolle, Deputy General Manager, Sun Oil. 

“An initial investigation by Sun Oil and regulatory agencies on the scene, which included the Port Department, confirmed that the fuel leak was pipeline related,” noted Rolle.

He noted that the pipelines are inspected annually and that a recent inspection of the pipeline which was compromised on Monday showed no sign of a potential threat.

“The pipelines installed at the site are double-walled, consistent with industry best practice and the lines are pressure tested annually, a process witnessed by government authorities to confirm their on-going integrity,” shared Rolle.

“There were no identified pipeline problems at the Exuma facility during the testing that occurred in May 2018.

“Sun Oil will continue to provide our full cooperation to the authorities and will ensure that the findings from this incident are used to prevent a recurrence.”

Rolle confirmed that swift action to contain and remediate the fuel release in the marina prevented any major damage to surrounding marine life.

“Following an initial assessment and joint containment efforts by Sun Oil and Emerald Bay personnel, an emergency response team from Nassau was dispatched to Exuma to provide additional resources and support to manage the incident,” said Rolle.

“Swift action along with favorable wind and tidal patterns contained the release to a confined area within the marina.

“Containment, in conjunction with the immediate dispatch of our emergency management team allowed us to quickly remediate the situation to minimize environmental impact.”

Rolle confirmed that operators of The Marina at Emerald Bay notified the Sun Oil Exuma office about a diesel release after 9:30 a.m. on Monday.

He noted that teams were able to spring into action within 24 hours.

“We were able to successfully recover the fuel from the water by Tuesday, August 21 and then complete the final remediation process on the evening of Wednesday, August 22,” said Rolle.

“We want to assure the Bahamian community and especially residents of Exuma, that our commitment to safe, environmentally-friendly fueling operations is strong.”