Video: Liftboat Capsizes and Sinks off Trinidad & Tobago

liftboat capsizes off Trinidad
Liftboat was evacuated when it began taking on water before it capsized (Twitter)

Published Dec 1, 2022 2:21 PM by The Maritime Executive

Authorities in Trinidad & Tobago are mobilizing resources to contain a possible environmental disaster after a supply vessel carrying 900 barrels of diesel fuel capsized and sank in the Gulf of Paria. The Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries announced that efforts are underway to deal with the possibility of an oil spill after the Liftboat Daniela which was located in the Heritage Petroleum Company’s North Field capsized and sank on November 30.

Six crew members were on board the supply vessel at the time of the incident and all were removed and accounted for after Heritage Petroleum received an SOS and immediately responded. Heritage Petroleum said the rescued persons were taken to Marine Base and later transported for medical evaluation.



The vessel, which is owned by Trinity Liftboat Services Limited, was apparently attempting to demobilize from its location and in the process capsized and sank to the seafloor. At the time, the vessel was not contracted by Heritage Petroleum. 

According to a statement from the vessel’s owner, Trinity Group of Companies, the liftboat was engaged in routine operations when it began developing a list. The captain made the decision to abandon ship. Within the hour, the liftboat had capsized and sunk.

The Daniela was 2,250 square feet with an operating depth of up to 80 feet. It had accommodations for 18 people.

“At this time, response efforts are being led by the owner of the vessel. The focus is now on salvage and ensuring that during this process there are no oil spills. There are about 900 barrels of diesel fuel on board the vessel, oil spill response equipment is on standby in the event a spill response is required,” said the Ministry of Energy statement.

It added that the Environmental Management Authority, Trinidad and Tobago, Coast Guard, Maritime Services Division and other authorities have all been informed, with the Ministry monitoring the situation with Heritage Petroleum assisting as necessary.

Heritage Petroleum, Trinidad & Tobago’s newest state-owned oil and gas company that is focused on exploration, development, production, and marketing of crude oil, is the operator of the North Field in the Gulf of Paria.  

On its website, Trinity Liftboat Services says it provides jack-up liftboats from 130 feet to 160 feet class operating in Trinidad & Tobago and has supported many projects such as oil and gas well drilling, production well workovers, wireline, coiled tubing, snubbing, offshore construction & maintenance on platforms, geotechnical boreholes, and CPT. The company also provides crewing and shore base management staff to support the oil, gas, and shipping industry.

In February, SkyTruth, a U.S-based nonprofit environmental watchdog that uses satellite imagery and remote sensing data to identify and monitor oil spill threats, said that due to its status as a top exporter of oil and gas, the small dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has become prone to chronic oil pollution. With the help of satellite imagery, the organization estimated that between June 2020 and November 2021 alone, the cumulative amount of oil that leaked from offshore infrastructure and into the Gulf of Paria and the eastern coast of Trinidad was between 55,740 and 260,120 gallons.