By Yesenia Garcia. Additional reporting by Carlos Camacho in Caracas.
The life of six oil workers crew onboard storage facility Nabarima, anchored in the Gulf of Paria, 22 kilometers off the coasts of Sucre state, is in danger, a union representative told El Pitazo.
This latest development comes an only day after the oil spill, estimated at 20,000 barrels affecting 350 square kilometers. The Nabarima is said to be laden with 60 times more oil, some 1.3 million oil barrels, but also located in the waters between Venezuela and Trinidad, near the mouth of the mighty Orinoco River, one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The executive director of the United Federation of Oil Workers of Venezuela (Futpv), Eudis Girot, said the situation for the crew is “extremely delicate”, as the Nabarima is leaking and state oil firm PDVSA is not lending necessary assistance to the workers.
“More attention gets the oil tanker than the workers, six human beings are there, and their lives are in danger if that ship were to finish sinking. The workers have no way to save themselves because of the location of the ship,” Girot warned during a phone interview. He also said that works lack food, water, and medical care.
The work conditions are poor too. “The workers are subjected to miserable, starvation wages. They received as paid four hundred thousand bolivars every two weeks (less than $4 a month). These men who are there, if they get sick, don’t have health insurance and must be taken to the hospital in Carupano, something that would be complicated because, in Güiria, there is not even gasoline to leave the town,” he assured.
Cargo, ship, and crew are experiencing hardship. There are not even functioning bathrooms in the facility. “In the tanker, the security norms get not fulfilled, the oil tankers onboard live together in an unhygienic way, without water system. Also, they have to sit on the side of the ship and do their physiological needs outdoors. The refrigeration system does not work, which affects the food,” he said.
Girot also added that the situation of the ship must be declared a global emergency. He said that there is a double risk: the life of the workers and an ecological disaster.