Caribbean Matters: Disastrous oil spill off coast of Tobago darkens Carnival kickoff

Caribbean Matters: Disastrous oil spill off coast of Tobago darkens Carnival kickoff

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, as Trinidad and Tobago’s residents and tourists alike were preparing to celebrate Carnival—a major event that takes place each year before Ash Wednesday—news broke of an oil spill off the coast of Tobago. The news raised multiple questions, due to the mysterious source of the oil-like substance: an abandoned capsized ship. The owners of the ship, named The Gulfstream, have not been identified as of this writing, though speculation swirls—including in online communities like Shipspotting and Reddit

The spill, which is not the first Tobago has faced, has affected over 10 miles of Tobago’s coastline, and has been elevated to a national emergency by Prime Minister Keith Rowley. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the nation, Encyclopedia Britannica describes Trinidad and Tobago as “the southernmost links in the Caribbean chain, northeast of Venezuela and Guyana.” At about 1850 square miles, Trinidad is the larger main island by far—Tobago measures just 115 square miles.

For context, when combined with the 20 or so smaller neighboring islands, Trinidad and Tobago is roughly the same size as Delaware.

Caribbean Matters is a weekly series from Daily Kos. If you are unfamiliar with the region, check out Caribbean Matters: Getting to know the countries of the Caribbean.

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