Texaco commissions $150M fire quelling system, new tanker

Stabroek News
November 29, 2002

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Texaco West Indies Limited yesterday afternoon commissioned a new petroleum tanker and a fire prevention system at its Ramsburg, East Bank Demerara terminal.

Assistant Area Manager Colin Richmond told attendees that importing and distributing petroleum products was hazardous and required environmentally friendly and fire-safe practices.

The Ramsburg facility stores over 2.7M gallons of petroleum products.

The tour party, which included Prime Minister, Sam Hinds, PNCR leader Desmond Hoyte and Texaco Area Manager Michael Chen was given a demonstration of the fire prevention system which was designed and developed by Otto Johnson of Johnson Fire Protection Company, Orlando, Florida, at a cost of $150M. It has about two miles of pipelines and includes a 130,000-gallon water tank.

Johnson explained that the system works on a fusible link, which melts when hot. This activates the water pump and turns on sprinklers. There is also a part of the system which upon detection of a fire allows for a protein-based foam to be injected into any tank with the petroleum product.

The injected foam then smothers the flames. After the demonstration, the group was taken on a tour of the Stena Caribbean, the new tanker vessel introduced into Texaco’s fleet. The ship, which is registered in the United Kingdom and built in Poland, has the capacity to carry both conventional oils, such as gasoline, kerosene and diesel, and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), better known as cooking gas. The ship is one of two sister ships, the other being the Stena Calypso.

They were built at a cost of US$25M each and feature double hulls to help prevent leakage. The ship also has bow thrusters (a propeller in the front of the ship) to help manoeuvre in narrow or shallow waters.

The vessel can make an on-the-spot, 360-degree turn, as well as side-to-side movements.

The ship’s captain told the visiting party that Stena Caribbean had been built with Guyana’s shallow waters in mind and will be able to bring a full load with a suitable draught thus saving the company money.

Michael Chen said Texaco intends to support the Guyana Fire Service by providing training in the quelling of terminal fires, such as one at a fuel depot.

Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Manzoor Nadir said policies to ensure fair competition in the sector were being tabled and that Government was taking a serious look at the problem of fuel smuggling, which diminishes returns for the legitimate fuel importers.

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