Local October 4, 2021 | 2:16 pm

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Massive fish kill investigated in Barahona

The massive death of fish around the Barahona pier coincided with the unloading of mineral coal from a vessel.

Barahona, DR

The stench and the enormous amount of dead fish floating on the waters of the Caribbean Sea testified yesterday to the disaster of the most significant magnitude of this nature that occurred in the coastal area of the Southwest of the Dominican Republic.

Orlando Jorge Mera, head of the Ministry of the Environment, on his Twitter account @orlandojm, posted a message earlier in the day in which he announced that he was in this city supervising the investigative process to determine what caused the death of fish in the dock here, specifically in the area bordering “El Cayo” beach.

Jorge Mera promised that they would have the results of the investigation report they have initiated by Wednesday after assuring that the due process of law must be respected.
“There is not and there will not be environmental impunity,” said the minister in the terse message he posted on his account on the popular social network.

Samples were taken
As part of the investigation, in charge of the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for the Defense of the Environment and Natural Resources (Promediaren), the entity prosecuting environmental crimes that opened an investigation concerning the death of thousands of fish and other species in the environment of the Barahona dock, this Sunday began with the process in a formal manner.

Technicians from the Ministry of the Environment took samples of the water for microbiological and chemical analysis, the results of which the minister promised would be ready by next Wednesday. These are the ones that will determine what caused the death of the fish.

The chain of custody of the samples is in the hands of Promediaren, which must now take it to a laboratory to determine what happened.

Local actors have suggested to the head of Promediaren, court attorney Francisco Contreras Núñez, that the laboratory that should do the analysis is that of Customs since it has all the instruments for an investigation that could be objective.

A ship is a suspect
The ship Poland Pearl Nassau crew, composed of Filipinos and Poles, continued this morning to unload coal for the Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina (EGE Haina), which operates the Barahona thermoelectric plant, which has a generating capacity of 46 MW.

Concomitantly with the unloading of the coal, a resource used as fuel by the Barahona plant and which allows it to generate electricity, technicians from the Ministry of the Environment, including Jorge Mera (who was supervising the investigation), entered the ship to inspect the vessel as part of the investigative process.

So far, EGE Haina has not referred to the incident, whose investigation process points indirectly to that company.

They are going to court.
The Environmental authorities said that it would be through the investigation that it would be determined if there was the participation of criminal hands, assuring that those responsible will have to answer to justice in this case.

Esteban Sanchez, Environmental Prosecutor, indicated that they had a court order to search Poland Pearl Nassau.

Ship brought coal

Suspicious vessel
The vessel Poland Pearl Nassau was unloading mineral coal for the Ege Haina generator, and then the massive fish kill was unleashed.

Technical investigation
The Public Prosecutor’s Office seeks to determine if the vessel transported or spilled any chemical that caused the fish deaths. At the same time, the specialized prosecutor’s office requested the assistance of biologists and technical personnel.

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