Oil fumes highlight need to move away from fossil fuels – Minister
A fuel company said last night it is in discussions with Belco after complaints over fumes in the Ferry Reach area.
Alcindor Bonamy, general manager at Sol Petroleum Bermuda, said the company had already engaged in discussion with the Department of Natural Resources and would speak further with Belco about the issue.
He said: “The product is not our product – it is consigned to Belco. We are currently having some discussions with Belco.
“As soon as we get any more information, we will be sure to say it.”
Nicholas Ball, operations manager at Sol Petroleum Bermuda, said it was normal for the unloading process to cause a fuel smell, but that winds had blown the odour further from the docks than usual.
Mr Ball said: “This is a normal occurrence when a tanker discharges. It’s a normal process that happens when a tank is filled – they breathe.
“It has been like this for as long as I have been in the business and it has not changed. There has been no change to equipment or systems.
“It’s just a natural occurrence when a tanker is discharging into a tank.”
A photo caption on the front page of Wednesday’s edition called the oil dock the Rubis oil dock, when it is actually operated by Sol Petroleum Bermuda. We apologise for any confusion.
Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, said the Ministry has been investigating the issue since the complaints were first brought to its attention.
Mr Roban said: “Our Pollution Control Department has been on that matter since it arose. They have been discussing the matter with Sol and area residents, and it is currently under investigation.
“As soon as we have additional information to report on that, we will bring it to the public.”
He added that the issue highlighted the need for the island to move away from fossil fuels.
Mr Roban said the oil used to power the bulk of the island’s electricity had a “certain sulfur-level content” which causes odour when it is being pumped from the ship to storage.
He added: “We have been in constant communication with Sol to address these issues when they arise, but it is a bi-product of fossil fuel usage.
“The quicker we can have less fossil fuel usage, the quicker those problems can no longer be an issue for us.”
Ferry Reach residents complained of strong fumes emanating from the docks on Tuesday, with some able to smell the fumes from Kindley Field about a kilometre away.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said the smell had forced him to stay indoors and shut all the windows.
He added: “When it first starts, the stench is so bad in two seconds you get a headache. My throat starts burning really bad – I mean really, really bad.”