A growing island
A growing island beneath the muddy, churning waters off Point Radix in Mayaro is a cause for concern for oil companies operating in the area.
The companies operating in the area are Petrotrin and Canadian Superior.
Officials from State-owned Petrotrin flew by helicopter at the weekend to the area of turbulence to get a first hand look at what is happening. Earlier, the Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies (UWI) warned in a report that the island, which it described as "the construction of an undersea mound", had resulted "in a significant reduction in the depth to off-shore platforms in the area."
The island has more than trebled in its size in the past few days. "One week ago the water in that area was approximately 50 feet deep, now it is between six to ten feet deep," Rod Stewart , a Volcanic Seismologist attached to the University of the West Indies (UWI), said yesterday.
He said the island was now 40 feet high and it covered an area of some 500 feet in diameter. Stewart said the waves in the area at the time of the visit were "about six feet high."
He and officials of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), UWI and the Institute of Marine Affairs (IMA), visited the area last weekend to make a further assessment of what was happening.
They travelled by boat and remained about 100 feet from the turbulence due to the formation of the island. The team collected samples of water with fine mud for analysis. The IMA was also making arrangements to bring in a consultant to help in the investigation, it was learned.
A team consisting of representatives of the IMA, ODPM and Geological Society of Trinidad and Tobago as well as members of the Seismic Research Unit will continue their study of the area today.
A Petrotrin official said "we will be guided by the findings of the team". He said that in the meantime the company will be taking all the necessary instructions given by the ODPM.
The ODPM has advised owners of small craft to stay away from the area until a final determination is made concerning the turbulence in the area.
When the sea first started to churn last week experts had said that it might have been a mud volcano.