Nature Foundation St. Maarten Responds to Fuel Spill at Sol 

PHILIPSBURG- Mid-Morning on Monday, June 13th the Nature Foundation responded to calls regarding a fuel spill occurring in the area of Cay Bay. Upon investigation it was confirmed that the spill originated from Sol. Foundation staff and Sol crews tried to mitigate the spill using fuel absorbent supplies, however the extent of the incident and the difficult weather conditions caused much of the pollution to be washed out to sea. 

“We received a call from a concerned boat charter company to let us know a significant amount of fuel could be seen in the water as they were passing Cay Bay. We were able to respond to the call within 15 minutes, but by the time we arrived a wide slick of fuel could be found more than 1.8 Kilometers (1.1miles) away from shore. It was unclear how much product was able to enter the environment during this incident as the fuel had mixed with the water and spread while it was pushed away from the area,” stated the Nature Foundation. 


In response to the incident, Sol released the following statement, “Sol Antilles N.V. (Sol) confirms that on June 13, 2022, at approximately 8:00 a.m., an incident occurred during the connection of the new white oils receiving pipeline at the Sol Cole Bay depot in Cay Bay. Due to the swift reaction of the internal response team, the operation was immediately halted, and majority of the spill was subsequently contained. As part of its overall contingency planning, Sol has an emergency response team of trained and certified staff and has oil spill equipment readily available should it be required. There was no harm to any personnel, however, a small quantity of fuel escaped out to sea. All other on-site activities were ceased immediately as a precautionary measure. The maintenance activities have since all been completed without any further issues.


The Nature Foundation’s staff has continued to monitor the area throughout the week and saw no further signs of pollutants entering the water. The Nature Foundation urges that any company working with environmentally hazardous materials to have equipment and protocols in place to handle inevitable issues such as oil or fuel spills. Including contacting the foundation as soon as possible in the event of emergency in order to mitigate the impacts on our precious environment. 

“With major environmental incidents involving fuel or oil happening at varying locations in 2010, 2014, 2018, 2021, and now 2022 it is clear that there is a need for a change in policy and regulation when it comes to dealing with these hazardous materials,” stated the Nature Foundation.

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