Derek Achong

A Princes Town family has threatened to sue State-owned Heritage Petroleum Company Limited over an oil spill at their teak plantation.

Lawyers representing Ameran, Carmen, Norisha, Kazim, Katija, Nazeman, and Salisha Mohammed made the threat in a pre-action protocol letter issued to the company’s chairman Michael Quamina, last week Thursday.

In the letter, the family’s lawyer Peter Taylor alleged that the spill at their six-acre plantation located at Lagoon Trace, Princes Town, was only discovered by a member of the family on May 13.

Taylor claimed that after making a report, officials from the company visited the family and attempted to get an elderly member to sign a document giving the company permission to come unto the property to rectify the issue with its faulty pipeline.

“Mrs Mohammed, however, correctly refused to sign said document since she was unaware of the nature or content of the said document and she not yet had the benefit of legal advice,” Taylor said.

He noted that after the company’s visit, the family retained Susan Ablack, of Simply Environmental, to perform an environmental impact assessment of the damage to their land.

In the report, Ablack claimed that the oil, which had settled, collected, and seeped into the soil in a portion of the plantation, emanated from a buried pipeline.

Ablack recommended the repair of the pipeline and for remedial works to be done to mitigate the environmental damage.

In the letter, Taylor gave Quamina 14 days in which to respond with a “realistic and comprehensive” offer of compensation, which is in keeping with the company’s corporate social responsibility.

In the event that the company fails to respond with a suitable offer, which is accepted by the family, they will file their legal proceedings.

They had not received a response up to late yesterday.

↔—Derek Achong