Category Archives: Nustar

discussion about the expansion of Nustar via Statianews

Mixed reactions to oil spillage report

ST. EUSTATIUS–The Department of Waterways of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment recently issued a report on the October 20, 2012, oil spill at NuStar Statia Terminal. The company’s response had been too little and too late, in certain respects, it was stated in the report. The Daily Herald asked several stakeholders in St. Eustatius for their reactions.

“I think it has been made clear to NuStar that the rules are being applied and that from now on the company is expected to act adequately under such circumstances. According to me, the report is clearly stating that (financial) sanctions will be imposed and that slow response will no longer be tolerated,” Commissioner Koos Sneek said.

 The oil spillage, which occurred in the early morning hours, was caused by a ruptured hose at Statia Terminal’s floating hose station, while oil was pumped into a ship. Some 15 minutes after the spillage was first reported, NuStar started investigations, but no oil was sighted until one hour later around the hose station. One hour and 25 minutes after the spill started, NuStar decided to halt all activities at the loading station. Efforts to contain the pollution and to clear the oil didn’t  start until 7:00am. Divers found the hole in the cargo hose at 8:35am, after which it was temporarily closed at 10:25am.

NuStar said the spillage was a result of third-party damage. “Although it was still dark at the time, NuStar employees immediately implemented an investigation to identify the source, as well as determine the nature of the release. NuStar personnel also began mobilizing people and equipment for containment and cleanup, and worked with government officials in the response effort. NuStar acted quickly and appropriately in investigating the release, and preparing for containment and cleanup. NuStar deployed all necessary people and equipment in as safe and efficient a manner as feasible under the  circumstances, and used all feasible methods to recover the product. Thanks to quick response and mutual cooperation, the cleanup was implemented quickly and safely and there was no  resulting damage,” company management stated.

In the report it was stated that a speedy response by the terminal was hindered by the fact that the oil spill occurred at night with limited vision. The Inspector considered the response timely, but was critical of the fact that efforts to contain and clear the oil contamination didn’t start until four hours and 15 minutes after the spillage was first reported, which was considered a violation of NuStar’s responsibilities as stipulated in its permit.

NuStar also failed to take certain preventive measures, such as placing an oil-containment screen. measures taken along the shore near the terminal were deemed sufficient. Company management  said to be pleased that the agency concluded in large part that NuStar acted responsibly and in compliance with the laws and its permit. But it disagrees with a few assertions in the report, including statements regarding the presence of oil in Saba.

 “Our investigation in the area around Saba revealed no evidence that the fuel from the subject spill reached Saba. We will be discussing the report and these and other issues with the agency, and are hopeful that we can reach a favourable resolution via further discussions,” NuStar management said.

 According to the report, part of the oil spillage had drifted into open sea. As a result of this, oil globules were found in Saba and part of the contamination drifted over Saba Bank. This was also considered a violation of the permit. NuStar said to be committed to working cooperatively with government officials with respect to its operations on Statia and to being committed to safe and environmentally sound operations. Investigations revealed that the cargo hose was damaged by the propeller of a ship or boat. The report said it could not be established whether the damage was caused by a third party or by NuStar itself. The damaged cargo hose was confiscated by the Prosecutor’s Office. The report said that measures will be taken if the permit’s stipulations are violated again before February 1, 2014.

“A report is only as good as its follow-up,” according to Statia Safe and Sound Foundation, which is critical of NuStar’s late response to the spillage and of the Dutch authorities seemingly extenuating this. “Everything revolves around monitoring and enforcement. You can have as many rules and regulations, but if not upheld, those rules are only there to point out the culprit, while those affected remain with the damage,” said Safe and Sound Chairman Walter Hellebrand.

He also pointed out that the report did not indicate measures to be taken to prevent similar damages to the oil installation in the future. Hellebrand said that NuStar, in conjunction with the Harbour Master, was to restrict access to the terminal’s loading and unloading zone and to indicate the location of pipes at sea by lights. But even though these measures were due November 2012, “this is still a work in progress,” Hellebrand stated.

 St. Eustatius National Parks Stenapa, which borders with the terminal, was also asked for comment, but didn’t provide any.

Nustar Terminals permit drafted

ST. EUSTATIUS–The executive council of the Public Entity of St Eustatius has announced that the draft permit and the accompanying application for a permit for NuStar Terminals NV under the Hindrance Ordinance St. Eustatius 1993 has been published, a press release from Government Information Services said. The draft decision concerns a permit resulting from an application by NuStar Terminals NV for the storage and overhaul of mineral oil products and a refinery located at Tumble Down Dick Bay. There are regulations associated with the permit for the interest of protecting the environment. Any person may register a written objection against the requested permit starting from March 8 through April 8. In accordance with article 14, second paragraph of the Hindrance Ordinance St. Eustatius 1993, the person who submits a notice of objection, may request not to have personal information disclosed. To be able to lodge an appeal on the final decision in a later phase, a notice of objection must have been submitted against the draft decision. The draft decision and the documents pertaining to the decision are open to public inspection during regular office hours at Planbureau in Fort Oranje. One can make one’s objections regarding this draft decision known by sending them to; Executive council of the Public Entity of St Eustatius, Government Guesthouse, Oranjestad, St. Eustatius. Further information regarding the content of the draft decision can be found by contacting the head of the Planbureau, M. Timber at +599-318-3283, or planning.bureau@statiagov.com

Court case against Nustar amendment thrown out

ST. EUSTATIUS–The court case filed by Statia Safe and Sound Foundation (SSSF) and four individuals against the adoption of the amendment to the Spatial Development Plan to allow expansion of NuStar Statia Terminal in St. Eustatius has been thrown out. The Judge of the Court of First Instance of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba declared all cases filed against the Executive Council inadmissible, because the Executive Council had repealed the amendment after NuStar had withdrawn its requests for terminal expansion permits in August 2012.

NuStar had applied for building, hindrance and maritime permits for the construction of storage tanks, a jetty, related buildings, pipeline and infrastructure in the Culde- Sac area. The expansion plans were met with great objections from residents and environmentalists on the island. Information evenings, protests marches and petition drives were held in efforts to prevent the terminal’s expansion in the area.

The case was heard January 22. During the hearing, petitioners Ralph and Allan Hook, Linda Berkel, Lennard Sprott and SSSF claimed that although the amendment plan had been withdrawn, they still felt they had a case against the island government, because they also disagreed with the way in which the amendment plan had come about.

They were critical of the way in which the contested government decision was made, and wanted the Court to decide whether all proper procedures had been followed and all safeguards had been put in place. With a court ruling in hand, litigants sought to prevent the Executive Council from making a future, similar “illprepared decision,” with a limited appeal-period of only 15 days, they said. In his ruling of February 19, Judge René van Veen said, however, that the Court would not make a decision in this case, because the contested government decision no longer exists. “In case NuStar would fi le another request with the defendant (Island Government, Ed.) to use its authority to establish an Amendment Plan, and defendant would grant the request, plaintiffs may use the existing possibilities for objections and appeals,” the judge stated. The Court threw out all elements of the appeal, but ordered the Public Entity of St. Eustatius, which was represented in this case by attorney-at-law Bert Hofman, to pay the legal charges of NAf. 600 in total. Plaintiffs were not represented by an attorney in these procedures.

Nustar’s oilspill response deemed “too little, too late”

The Daily Herald february 12, 2013. Nustar’s oil spill response deemed ‘too little, too late”.
Even though the report drafted by the Department of Waterways of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment was not too critical of the way in which NuStar handled the oil spill of October 20, 2012, it stated that the company’s response had been too little and too late, in certain respects.

Oil was first seen drifting in the sea at Tumbledown Dick Bay that October day, at approximately 2:45am. The sighting was reported by the Statia Responder, which was anchored in that area.

The oil spillage was caused by a ruptured hose at Statia Terminal’s floating hose station, while oil was pumped into E-ShipNayan.

Some 15 minutes after the spillage was first reported, NuStar started investigations by line boat E.I. Pancake, but no oil was spotted until 3:50am. Oil was found around the floating hose station, as well as near tanker Tasing Swan, which was anchored south of the Terminal.

One hour and 25 minutes after the spill started, NuStar decided to halt all activities at the loading station.

Efforts to contain the oil pollution and to clear the oil didn’t start until 7:00am, when personnel, ships and material gathered around the service dock. Divers found the hole in the cargo hose at 8:35am, after which the hole was temporarily closed at 10:25am.

Head of Waterways Department’s (Rijkswaterstaat) Division of Enforcement and Incident Management R. de Boer sent his report, which was dated February 1, to NuStar Terminals NV, the Caribbean Netherlands’ Prosecutor’s Office, the Harbour Master of St. Eustatius, the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate Caribbean Region and the Executive Council.

In his report, De Boer stated that a speedy response by the Terminal was hindered by the fact that the oil spill occurred at night with limited vision.

NuStar immediately started with visual inspections. The Inspector considered the response timely, but was critical of the fact that efforts to contain and clear the oil contamination didn’t start until four hours and 15 minutes after the spillage was first reported. De Boer considered this a violation of NuStar’s responsibilities as stipulated in Article 4.1 of its permit.

NuStar also failed to take certain preventive measures, such as placing an oil-containment screen around E-ShipNayan.

The measures that were taken along the shore near the Terminal were deemed sufficient, as the swells in the shallow waters and the rocky coastline made it impossible to deploy a skimmer. The use of an oil-containment screen and oil pads were considered adequate.

Part of the oil spillage drifted into open sea. NuStar tried to dissolve the oil slick by spraying it with water under high pressure, instead of clearing it mechanically. As a result of this, oil globules were found in Saba and part of the contamination drifted over Saba Bank. This was also considered a violation of the permit.

The permit in question was granted to NuStar on October 16, 2012, only four days prior to the incident. Therefore, it wasn’t held against NuStar that no instructions had been in place yet concerning the reporting procedure and time-frame.

Investigations carried out by independent Val M. Northcutt Consulting Inc. revealed that the cargo hose was damaged by the propeller of a ship or boat. It could not be established whether the damage was caused by a third party or by NuStar itself. The damaged cargo hose was confiscated by the Prosecutor’s Office.

According to information provided by NuStar, approximately two cubic metres of oil had been leaked during the incident. Based on other sightings, the report estimated the total leakage at four to five cubic metres.

The report did not draw any conclusions concerning the accuracy of these estimates, but stated that both remained within the maximum quantity of 16 cubic metres, which requires containment and clean-up operations to start within 15 minutes.

NuStar failed to comply with this stipulation, the report stated. However, NuStar was not fully to be blamed, because the spillage was sighted during the night. “But also at daybreak NuStar did not comply with this timeframe,” it was added.

The Department Head said certain unspecified measures will be taken if the permit’s stipulations are violated again before February 1, 2014.

JUDGE DEALS WITH APPEALS AGAINST AMENDMENT PLAN NUSTAR TERMINALS ST. EUSTATIUS

24 January 2013, ORANJESTAD The Court in First Instance Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba convened in the Government Guesthouse in St. Eustatius to hear the appeals against the Amendment Plan NuStar Terminals St. Eustatius. With the Amendment Plan, the Executive Council of St. Eustatius tried to change the Spatial Development Plan of the island for the construction of a new oil storage facility right next to Oranjestad and within the flight path of the airport.

The Amendment Plan was later withdrawn by the Executive Council. Mr. B.G. Hofman, legal representative of the St. Eustatius Executive Council, therefore asked the judge to declare the cases inadmissible or without grounds. However, the four parties who filed an appeal made it clear to the judge that their appeals are explicitly directed against three things. Two of these were part of the Amendment Plan that has been withdrawn. But the third is the particular use by the Executive Council of article 40.1 of the Spatial Development Plan. This part of the appeal still stands as it is not part of the Amendment Plan itself.

The appeals were filed by Mr. R.C. Hook, Ms. Linda Berkel, Mr. Lennard Sprott and the Statia Safe & Sound Foundation (SSS). Present at the court session were Ms. Berkel, Mr. Sprott and on behalf of SSS Walter Hellebrand, “Joshua” Spanner and Olga Schats-van Driessen (also representing Messrs. Hook).

The four plaintiffs explained to the judge that the Executive Council used article 40.1 of the Spatial Development Plan in a way that vastly exceeds the purpose of that article and that without a condemnation by the Court of this interpretation of the article, their legal security will be severely compromised. As Mr. Sprott explained in his plea: “Otherwise the situation may arise that I come home from a medical procedure in Colombia only to find that without anybody discussing this with me before, I will have 30 meter high oil tanks next to my fence.”

Mr. Hellebrand commented that he was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a real Court in session since according to the letters sent to the plaintiffs by the Court they were all summoned to attend a hearing by the Court of First Instance Bonaire Sint Eustatius Aruba, a court that does not exist.

The judge, Mr. R. van Veen, will announce his verdict on 19 February.

 

Caption:

Mr. Lennard Sprott flanked by “Joshua” Spanner and Olga Schats-van Driessen of the Statia Safe & Sound Foundation at the steps to the courtroom on St. Eustatius (with Walter Hellebrand holding the camera).

Dutch State Secretary provides update on Nustars’ oilspill

(DH 9 nov) THE HAGUE–The new Dutch State Secretary of Infrastructure and Environment Wilma Mansveld provided an update on Thursday, to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on the recent oil spill in St. Eustatius. In a letter to the Second Chamber, in response to written questions submitted by Member of Parliament (MP) Henk van Gerven of the Socialist Party (SP) about the oil spill and the consequences for the environment, the State Secretary explained that only a “limited amount” of oil ended up in the maritime environment. “NuStar immediately started with the clean-up during the incident. A large part of the oil has evaporated and dissolved. Small parts of oil remains have washed ashore in Saba in various areas. It is not expected that this will adversely affect the ecosystem. The cause of the incident is currently being investigated,” stated Mansveld. NuStar has been held responsible for all clean-up related costs as well as the costs to restore the damage, she added. MP Van Gerven also asked which environmental and safety regulations were  in place for companies like NuStar. Mansveld explained that the consequences of NuStar’s maritime operations were regulated based on the Maritime Management Law BES, for which the State Secretary is responsible, and the local hindrance ordinance of St. Eustatius of 1993. NuStar has requested a permit for the local government based on the  hindrance ordinance which is expected to be issued early 2013, if the conditions are complied with. The State Secretary anticipated that the permit would be issued for the requested activities. The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment I and M supports the local government in this process. I and M is further investing in the expansion of oil  disaster equipment in the region. Mansveld did not provide a straight answer to Van Gerven’s if it was not “very illogical” to have an oil storage facility in a “unique and fragile” natural areas, but she did explain that the existing facility had been established since 1975, and that since NuStar took over the company, it has made investments in various environmental facilities. There are regular inspections by the competent authorities, stated Mansveld. Several inspections have taken place since October 10, 2010, including two on location. There is oversight on NuStar’s  management and the involved risks. Asked about the possibilities of relocation, the State Secretary said that this was not her competence and that it was an autonomous authority of Statia’s Executive Council.

“It was a tier-one spill” said Lt. Gov. Berkel

ST. EUSTATIUS–Island Governor and Chairman of the Disaster Committee Gerald Berkel informed the media on Wednesday, of the findings of safety experts from The Netherlands concerning the October 20 oil spill at NuStar
Statia Terminal.
After reviewing all relevant documentation and having conducted site visits, the experts flown in from The Netherlands had concluded that the oil spill had occurred as a result of a ruptured hose at the terminal’s docking facility. The rupture caused an oil  spill of about four square  kilometres in Statia waters, and could be categorised as  a “tier-one spill,” (definition see below) Governor Berkel said.
The findings from surveys and inspection of the coastlines and other affected areas concluded that the cleanup efforts have been successful, according to the governor.
“Local environmental organisations in both Saba and St. Eustatius and Islands Harbour Authorities will continue to monitor these nature sensitive areas in the weeks and months ahead,” Berkel said. As required by the maritime permit under which NuStar currently operates, a “root-cause analysis” is being conducted, which should indicate in detail why this failure took place and what steps can and will be taken to prevent reoccurrence in the future. In addition to the inspection of the incident, a general inspection of NuStar’s  seaside structures was  conducted. In the coming weeks inspectors will evaluate their findings and will  provide feedback to both NuStar and the Island Government, it was said.
As for the response and mobilization, it was concluded that although notices, updates and information reached the designated parties as outlined in the emergency response protocols, a review of these protocols and procedures was
still deemed necessary.
The Dutch Department of Waterways (Rijkswaterstaat) is also looking into the possibility to provide additional expertise to support Bonaire, Saba and Statia in future emergency situations through regional organisations with expertise in this area, it was also stated.

Definition “Tier one oil spill” (source investopedia)

One of the three categorized levels of oil spills. Tier 1 spills are the most mild, causing localized damage usually near the company’s own facilities. In most cases, this type of spill occurs as a result of the company’s own activities.

Investopedia explains ‘Tier 1 Spill’

Oil companies are usually expected to clean up their own Tier 1 spills. They must therefore maintain an appropriate level of preparedness for this event at all times. The International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association has defined the three tiers according to various characteristics.

(picture Walter Hellebrand)

Meeting about the oilspill on Saba

SABA–Jan Kool, an advisor for Emergency Response Dutch Caribbean and North Sea unit under the Water and Shipping Division of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment arrived on Saba Thursday, and participated in a public event held in Windwardside that evening when the big Statia oil spill was discussed.
Two metric tons of heavy fuel oil from NuStar oil terminal allegedly spilled into the sea due to a ruptured hose. Saba’s waters and
shores have been affected by the oil spill, but Saba’s governor declined any comment stating all response efforts and communication are being coordinated by Statia’s governor. As a result Saba’s Marine Park manager could not publicly release his findings either.
Kool’s presentation provided no additional insights into the ongoing investigation into the much-criticised containment efforts in spite of which some of the spilled oil reached Saba’s shores. Kool spoke of measures taken by NuStar and about the operational coordination of Statia’s Harbour Master under the final authority of Statia’s Governor. Kool’s map model showed oil sheen moving towards Saba but did not explain why the response efforts failed to control the spill within 24 hours. He said he understands that Saba’s Harbour Master was only informed of the oil spill, by accident, by Saba Marine Park Manager Kai Wulf at around 8:00 or 9:00am that day. Dive business owner Lynn Costenaro, who attended the meeting, asked why it took citizens like him and not important parties responsible  on Statia or NuStar to inform the governor of the oil spill, “so that we could have been better prepared.” Kool could not confirm if any protocol was in place that prevented Saba’s Governor Jonathan Johnson from taking emergency measures in Saba’s waters. Kool stated that Statia coordinated the response team along its coastline and between Statia and Saba, and Dutch Marine Coast Guard took the lead.” He said the impact for the Saba Bank will “probably be very low as the oil will float.” He also said the ministry made available to the islands some response equipment including coastline cleanup materials. He assured that later on a cleanup assistance station would be set up on Saba. Asked if he was aware that a fisherman’s boat apparently caused the incident, Kool could not confirm.
Members of the audience challenged the official estimates about the amount of oil discharged into the sea, but Kool said there was no
basis for contesting the estimate. (from Daily Herald)

NUSTAR STATEMENT ABOUT OIL SPILL

(daily Herald Oct 25, picture made on 20 Oct. by Walter Hellebrand) ST. EUSTATIUS–NuStar Statia Terminal docking facility has released a statement regarding the oil spill that occurred early Saturday morning, October 20. “This past weekend it appears that a third-party boat damaged a submersible hose used to load fuel oil onto and off of barges at a dock at NuStar’s St. Eustatius Terminal,” the statement read. “This led to a fuel oil release, and NuStar is pleased to report that the water cleanup around St. Eustatius appears to be complete. We are continuing to monitor the waters around Statia and the surrounding areas and we have the manpower and resources to take immediate action if any residual fuel oil is found.”
Upon discovering the release Saturday morning, NuStar’s employees quickly implemented containment and cleanup efforts. Coast Guard, Island Disaster Committee and other local officials supported and
assisted in the response effort. “Our first guiding principle is to be a safe and responsible operator, and we will continue to investigate this incident thoroughly and take steps to ensure that such an incident does not occur again,” the statement concluded.

SP ASKS QUESTIONS IN DUTCH SECOND CHAMBER ABOUT OIL SPILL

(Daily Herald Oct.24)
THE HAGUE–The Socialist Party (SP) in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament wants clarity from the Dutch Government about the recent oil spill in St. Eustatius.
Member of Parliament Henk van Gerven, the SP’s spokesman on environmental affairs, on Tuesday posed written questions to Dutch caretaker State Secretary of Infrastructure and Environment Joop Atsma based on reports in The Daily Herald that some two metric tonnes heavy fuel were spilled in Statia’s waters on Saturday due to a ruptured hose.
Van Gerven wanted to know which environmental and safety requirements Statia’s oil terminal NuStar has to comply with. “How will you prevent that unique and fragile nature is being threatened and destructed? Are you willing to do the max to prevent the destruction of coral reefs?” The MP asked who would pay for the cost of cleaning the oil spill and the recovery of nature and the cultural, historical value of the area, as well as the cost of deploying personnel of the Dutch Department of Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat). And, how much will NuStar contribute, he asked.
According to Van Gerven it is “very illogical” to have oil terminal facilities in an area “this unique and fragile.” He wanted to know if based on the current rules and regulations NuStar would have received a permit to operate the facility. Van Gerven wanted to know who was in charge of supervising and making sure that NuStar complied with all rules and regulations, and how often this had been checked in the last two years. Finally, he asked if there were possibilities to relocate the oil storage facilities.