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Perenco’s Teak, Samaan and Poui (TSP) field.

Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant

Forty-five Perenco Trinidad and Tobago Limited offshore workers are still waiting to be evacuated from the Poui Alpha platform, even as they await the results of their COVID-19 tests.

One of the workers, who wished not to be identified, yesterday described their experience as “the nightmare before Christmas.” The worker added that he and his colleagues remained in limbo last night but noted they were certain they will be miss spending time with their families for Christmas.

Another worker claimed they were told by management that they may have to stay in quarantine on the platform for the next seven days.

“We don’t know what is happening. All we know is that they got another positive case today (yesterday) and after intermingling with us all this time, he was moved and placed in a room, so it is possible that all 45 of us are positive. This is scary and our families are back home worried,” the worker said.

Questions posed to Perenco yesterday went unanswered, as the company’s HSE Advisor/Community Relations Samantha Inglefield said, “At this time, we have no further comment as we continue to focus our efforts on preserving the health and welfare of our workers.”

Meanwhile, Banking Insurance and General Workers Union’s acting president Mario Als has written another letter to Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, expressing anger and disappointment in him failing “to address the union’s request for an investigation to be conducted to ascertain whether or not Perenco did take measures intended to ensure COVID-19 workplace protocols were observed prior to the outbreak on its platforms.”

Als reiterate the union’s “earlier request for an investigation to be conducted, further, that its findings be made public, not only in the interest of transparency but to ascertain any missteps that may have contributed to the outbreak and have measures implemented to avoid same in the future at Perenco and elsewhere.”

Parasram responded to Als via letter yesterday (December 23), saying he (Parasram) had already written to the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries on December 21. Parasram assured Als that he will “continue to work with the company’s physician and operating personnel, as well as the Minister of Energy and Energy industries, which is the line ministry with oversight as it relates to these companies. All in a view to assure that the safety and health of all persons are given their highest priority.”

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh also addressed the issue during yesterday’s COVID-19 media briefing. (See page 15)

To date, close to 50 offshore workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in state quarantine at UWI’s Debe campus, whilst close to 30 workers who tested negative are at the Tradewinds Hotel for the next 14 days for observation.

Operations at the Teak, Samaan and Poui field platforms have been halted with just a skeletal staff of not more than ten workers despatched to man the generators.