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Sinking Tanker Off Venezuela: Count Down To Disaster (AP)


A Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) tanker off the coast of Venezuela loaded with oil is taking on water and threatening to sink

(AP) – After years of neglect, the FSO Nabarima, a rusting hulk full of thick crude, is in a dangerous state of disrepair. While the full extent of the damage is unknown, if not repaired soon it could sink and spell environmental disaster, polluting turquoise seas along the vast coastline of Venezuela and several neighboring Caribbean nations, government critics and maritime experts say.

Adding to concerns, Venezuela’s socialist government has said nothing publicly about its plans for the container.

However, anti-government oil workers like Eudis Girot, head of the Unitary Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela, has launched a campaign seeking to get President Nicolás Maduro to pay attention. He is urging the embattled leader to look beyond years of bitter disputes between his government and the oil workers union to head off a potential environmental disaster.

“I invited you, Mr. President. Take a helicopter. Go out there. Do your own inspection,” Girot said in an online video in recent days. He has also posted three photos of what he said is the ship’s flooded engine room. “By God, I hope I am wrong.”

The Venezuelan-flagged Nabarima is a 264-meter (866-foot) long ship believed to be almost filled to its capacity of 1.4 million barrels of crude – about five times the amount the Exxon Valdez spilled in 1989.

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