The Antigua Distillery Limited has taken swift action to address a Molasses spill which occurred last Saturday.
It was indicated in a press release issued by the rum manufacturer, that on Saturday 10th June, following receipt of a 2000 metric tonne delivery of molasses the previous day (Friday 9th ), it was discovered that molasses was overflowing from the distillery’s 2500 tonne capacity storage tank.
It read that upon physical inspection, it was found that a thick layer of foam had formed on top the molasses. The foam was found to be leaking through the vents under the roof of the tank. The ship was immediately notified to stop pumping and mitigation measures were put in place and the overflow of foam subsided.
On the morning of Sunday 11th, the company revealed that the main storage tank located at the deep-water harbour began foaming over again. A vacuum truck was called to remove the spill-over molasses and additional truckloads of backfill were brought in and by later that day the foaming subsided.
On Tuesday representatives of the Environmental Division, the Antigua Port Authority and the Prime Minister’s Office met with management and technicians from the Antigua Distillery to register their concerns. At the conclusion of the meeting, the environmental Division representative was satisfied that all efforts were being made to curtail the flow of molasses into the sea and to minimize any effects on marine life.
To date, the primary concern since this incident, one that is currently affecting staff at the Antigua Port Authority continues to be the pungent odour emitted by the spill.
Efforts to remove the spill have been underway since Saturday evening and according to the company Truckloads of backfill and a backhoe have been brought in to spread the fill, and absorb the excess molasses both inside the distillery compound and on the main road in front of the distillery. A water truck was also brought in to wash the main road of any residual molasses that may have travelled onto it from the storage tank.
The Antigua distillery says it takes full responsibility for the incident and is currently conducting investigations into what caused the accident. Managing Director of the Company Anthony Bento further assured that the company has always placed emphasis on ensuring that the environment is not endangered as a result of the activities.