In separate statements, State-owned oil company Petrotrin and bpTT, noted they had activated its emergency response plans as the tropical weather system gradually strengthened into a storm.
In an emailed statement, bpTT corporate communications manager Danielle Bailey stated: “In keeping with its Severe Weather Response Plan, BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) has taken precautionary measures to evacuate all non-essential personnel from its 13 offshore facilities and at its Port-of-Spain and Galeota Point offices, based on an information bulletin issued by the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Office today, 29 October 2010.”
“bpTT has been liaising with the relevant regulatory agencies on all precautionary measures taken and will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with other industry partners,” the statement noted.
Meanwhile, Petrotrin senior corporate communications officer, David Coker, pointed out that the company possessed a “very detailed hurricane emergency plan” which was activated following the Met Office’s weather bulletin of an impending storm.
He said that like bpTT, the company had started to evacuate all non-essential personnel from its offshore fields and refinery facilities and pointed out that the offshore installations could be operated automatically, from a remote location.
He said the company also put in place an ‘Incident Command Team’ at its corporate headquarters. “Similar teams were set up as appropriately needed, across our Exploration and Production operations including Petrotrin Trinmar Operations,” Coker stated, adding that administrative staff was sent home at 3 pm.
Ministry of Energy’s corporate communications specialist Roger Ramcharitar said the ministry was also monitoring the situation at the State owned enterprise and was in regular contact with the company’s management.
Meanwhile in San Fernando, both secondary and primary schools were dismissed at 1 pm with parents rushing to pick up their children, sources at several schools stated.
A Newsday team observed that despite the tropical storm warning, the main streets were were relatively clear as PTSC buses were seen operating regularly at King’s Wharf.
A brisk trade was done at several gas stations in the southern capital as motorists sought to stock up on gas and diesel supplies for the weekend.
Attendants at several stations reported that supplies of kerosene had run out, as residents rushed to purchase the commodity to fill lamps and lanterns.
At the water-taxi terminal, the three water taxis were seen moored on a calm sea.
Workers at several businessplaces including groceries, pharmacies, variety stores, restaurants and others, were sent home early as businessmen closed up shop earlier than usual because of the threat of the storm.