In the aftermath of hurricane Dorian, Equinor vows to clean up Bahamas oil spill

In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, there are reports of widespread devastation across the Bahamas. Equinor has said it will clean up the spills from its South Riding Point oil terminal, a consequence of the hurricane. 

Satellite image after the impact of Hurricane Dorian on the South Riding Point oil terminal at Grand Bahama Island. The red outline denotes the plume area of the oil spill, ca. 0.5 sq km, and ca. 1.3 km in length. (Photo: ESA Sentinel-2 satellite)

As previously reported, Equinor’s oil storage terminal in the Bahamas was damaged by the hurricane Dorian last week.

At the time of arrival of the hurricane, Equinor had 54 personnel on Grand Bahama. All are confirmed safe and accounted for and employee relief is being provided, including water and food.

The South Riding Point oil terminal has sustained damage from the hurricane and oil has been observed on the ground at the terminal site and in neighboring areas. The size of the spill is not yet clear, Equinor said in a statement on Sunday.

According to Equinor, based on current visual assessments, there are no indications of continued oil leakage from the tanks or of oil spills from the terminal to sea or beaches. Further examination is ongoing to assess the full impact of the spill.

Security personnel is on site at the terminal working to secure the area and identify potential hazards.

Equinor has secured vessels and equipment for oil spill response in Port Fourchon, Louisiana, and from various ports across southeast Florida. Some are now en-route, while some are pending customs to be en-route as soon as possible. Upon arrival, clean-up and remediation will start immediately.

The equipment mobilized includes skimmers, oil containment booms, absorbents, pumps, pressure washers and boats.

Equinor noted that the situation is complex and challenging, with damage to infrastructure hampering progress in relief and response efforts.

“The company has almost 100 members of its incident management organization in Norway and the US now working in coordination with our people on Grand Bahamas Island,” Equinor said.


Update: First emergency relief vessel arrives 


In an update published later on Monday, Equinor said that the first vessel, contracted by Equinor, with emergency relief to its employees had arrived on Grand Bahama and was being distributed.

Two vessels are en-route from Louisiana with 43 oil spill response personnel and clean-up equipment. According to current information the vessels are expected to arrive within a few days.

Additional oil spill personnel and equipment is being mobilized in Florida and could arrive within two days, and efforts are being made to secure equipment available in the Bahamas.

Equipment that has been mobilized includes equipment for use both onshore and offshore.

“We have no indications of ongoing leaks from the tanks and there are no indications of oil stemming from our terminal on nearby beaches or in the ocean,” Equinor said.

Currently, approximately 225 Equinor employees are involved in the response, in addition to external personnel and resources.

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