September 14, 2007

Ports warned of industrial mishap risks

Port management and governments have been warned that increased activity at the ports of small Caribbean territories increases the risk of industrial mishaps and environmental disasters.{{more}}

Carlos Gallegos is the Executive Secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS)/ Inter- American Committee on Ports (CIP), and he told SEARCHLIGHT recently that he is very wary of the potential for industrial and environmental dangers at the region’s ports.

Gallegos accepted the reality that more commercial activity at the ports is mandatory if they are to remain viable.

This, he said, is because of the increased cost of port operations, due to security upgrades and the movement into more high-tech, time efficient ways of operations.

“It is a matter of numbers, if the ports increase in traffic, in its operations, expanding and so on. Obviously, we have more possibilities of high risk,” Gallegos explained.

He said that the Caribbean, which depends so much on its beaches and other aspects of its health friendly environment, must guard against the spilling of oil or other dangerous substances. “Nearly every other month, we see some major news about some oil spill or some dangerous goods exploding. It is something to keep watch of,” Gallegos said.

He however said that he understood the need for more business and investments, but stressed that this must not be in the place of proper safety and environmental practices.(KJ)