Armed Forces Deployed to Bonaire for Faster Oil Spill Response

The military will be deployed on Thursday to clean up Foodies and Lagun.

Last night, Wednesday, a group of about 15 military personnel of the Dutch Armed Forces arrived on the island to expedite the cleanup of oil residues. This was announced by acting Lieutenant Governor Reynold "Nolly" Oleana during a press conference. The military will be deployed on Thursday to clean up Foodies and Lagun, followed by Punto Kalbas and Mar Cultura.

Acting Lieutenant Governor Oleana is pleased with the help from the Netherlands. "We are happy to receive help, so that the oil spill can be dealt with even faster. In fact, Bonaire already had enough capacity to clean up the oil spill. In the last few days many groups have offered to help with the clean-up. We would like to thank all these groups for their willingness and availability,’’ the Lieutenant Governor said.

Oleana went on to say that, although it is too early to celebrate, the situation seems to be under control. It remains to be seen what will happen in the coming days. The oil in Sorobon has been cleaned up. But it is still too early to open the area to the public.

It remains to be seen if the current situation will change. The notice to not enter the water, swim, fish, dive or kayak near the areas where oil has washed up is still in effect. The fine particles of oil in the water must first be determined to pose no health risk. The Lieutenant Governor and his team hope to have more clarity on Sorobon by Thursday.

The decision was made to clean up the Lac/Sorobon area first. This recreational area is very popular with locals, fishermen, tourists and business owners. Heavy equipment is being used to clean up Lagun.

Harbormaster Günther Flanegin said at the press conference that oil is now also flowing into Onima and Playa Frans. Meanwhile, the area between Willemstoren and Cargill is clear. The harbormaster and his team are continuing to monitor the situation. Flanegin, like the Lieutenant Governor, stressed the need to remain vigilant and not to think this is over.

The environmental organization STINAPA is coordinating the cleanup of the polluted areas. STINAPA does not yet know the environmental impact of the spill and will only be able to assess the damage once the polluted areas have been cleaned up, said STINAPA director Judith Raming.