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SOL calls on authorities to stop boat operators from using their facilities

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Steve Francis, General Manager of petroleum distributor SOL St Vincent, is calling on the relevant authorities in Bequia for their assistance in stopping boat operators there who illegally use the company’s oil tanker’s mooring facilities.{{more}}

While speaking at the opening of a four-day SOL sponsored workshop on the proper ship to shore transfer of petroleum last Tuesday, March 1, Francis affirmed that the practice was illegal and that no one was allowed to use the facilities without having the proper authorization to do so.

“This situation has serious financial, environmental and safety implications for us,” Francis said.

He added that he had been informed that some of the boat operators were charging yachtsmen for the use of SOL’s facilities and issuing receipts.

Francis told SEARCHLIGHT that the company will soon have to start taking legal action against perpetrators as the current strategy of the “art of persuasion” was proving to be ineffective.

The practice has resulted in damage to SOL’s buoys, chains and shackles, he said.

According to the GM, divers have had to be called in as recently as last Monday, February 28, to do restorative work on facilities that had been damaged because of the illegal practice.

“When you have to engage professional divers, their fees are not cheap.”

“If mooring facilities are not in order, the tanker cannot come to discharge fuel,” he said, adding that they had already received warnings that unless the damaged items were fixed, oil tankers will bypass the Bequia route.

“And if it can’t come to Bequia, then we can’t fill the tanks, and obviously who is going to suffer?” he questioned.(DD)