Once a week (on Sundays) I do a recap about important Aruba news.
If this is your first time reading my newsletter – welcome!
Important Aruba News
A lot of things happened this week, but let’s start with the most important Aruba news at the moment….
Oil Spill On Aruba’s Beaches
About a week ago more than 200 barrels of bunker fuel leaked from a storage tank at a refinery in Trinidad.
A few days later after the oil leak happened, the local authorities noticed the oil drifting towards Aruba (also towards Curacao, Bonaire and Venezuela).
Beaches Affected By The Oil Spill
The beaches on the north coastlines of Aruba have been affected by the oil spill. This includes boca druif, boca chikito, wariruri, natural bridge, dos playa, boca prins, boca grandi and other coves on the north coast.
Oil patches have also been found on the bay known as “pet cemetery” near baby beach.
Luckily, the beaches near the hotel area have not been affected by the oil spill.
Aruba’s national park Arikok advised the public not to swim at natural pool or other bays near the north coastline, because they are cleaning these areas at the moment.
The entrance to natural pool and other beaches on the north coast are closed until further notice.
Clean Up The Beach
The prime minister held a press conference with local environmental organizations, NGO’s and CITGO to form a plan to remove the oil and keep the damage at a minimum.
Volunteers and workers from local cleaning companies have been working around the clock to clean up the beaches on the north coastlines.
In the meanwhile, the local marines are monitoring the north coast of the island by boat and helicopter for more oil that might be drifting towards Aruba.
They are also keeping an eye out for fishes, birds and turtles that might have been affected by the oil spill – but no reports have been made yet of animals affected by the oil spill.
The oil in the sea has formed clumps and turned into tar due to the sea salt (known as tar-balls).
The oil patches that washed up on the Aruba’s shores formed clogs on the beach and coves, making the oil hard to remove.
Is the oil spill going to affect the local drinking water?
The spokesperson for our local water treatment company (WEB) said that the drinking water in Aruba hasn’t been affected.
They are closely monitoring the water quality they are producing for any abnormalities.
Since the announcement of the oil spill, they placed extra barriers in their water intake system as safety to keep out any oil from entering their water treatment plant.
The water treatment company is located on the southern part of the island, which is on the other side of where the oil washed up on Aruba’s shore -which means this part of the sea is pretty much unaffected by the oil spill.
According to WEB, Aruba’s water is still up to international standards and safe to drink.
Who’s going to pay for the damage?
The bureau of disaster control in Aruba is examining the composition of the oil.
If the composition of the oil patches is known, they can match it with the origin and find out if it’s really from the leak in Trinidad or if it’s from a nearby tanker.
Either way, the prime minister of Aruba announced during a press conference that the company that is responsible for the oil drifting into Aruba’s shore will be held accountable in regards to the damage and expenses to clean up our beaches.
The government is taking note of all the costs to clean up the beach, how much oil washed up and the location that the oil drifted on the island, so that they can write a claim to the company responsible for the leak.
All the environmental organizations and cleaning companies are bearing the costs to clean up our beaches, but their expenses will be claimed afterwards.
The Current Situation
According to the government, there’s good news – the biggest oil patches have already drifted into Aruba’s shore and cleaned up.
Less oil patches are expected to wash on Aruba’s north coast shore compared to the first few days.
The beaches near the hotel area have not been affected, so if you’re coming to Aruba and want to enjoy the beach closest to your hotel, you’re free to do so – it’s completely safe.
This oil spill shouldn’t be an issue for you if you’re visiting Aruba – you have nothing to worry about.
The natural pool and the beaches on the north coasts are still closed until further notice.
The Start of Hurricane Season in Aruba
It’s official – since June 1, 2017 the hurricane season has started in Aruba.
The government realized that they don’t have a system in place to alert the public of disasters or calamities after hurricane Matthew – so they introduced a new app named Alert FM.
Alert FM gives you instant messages of any calamities during the hurricane season in Aruba.
The app also lets the police, ambulance, red cross and other organizations involved during the hurricane season to alert and update each other.
The app is free, you can download it in the app store (iPhone users) or get it in play store (android users).
Once you download the app, you have to fill in a zip code to receive alerts from Aruba – the code is 99888.
Aruba is outside of the hurricane belt, so hurricanes seldom strike directly towards the island.
However, when a hurricane is forming in the Caribbean it can have tremendous effect in Aruba, in the form of heavy continuous rain with flooding and tropical storms.
Meteorologist are monitoring the situation closely and will alert the public if they notice any irregular activities.
There’s a couple of hurricane names already for 2017, such as – Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irma, Jose, Nate, Sean and Whitney
New Parking Rule for V-cars
A couple of weeks ago the government announced the removal of the wheel clamp in regards to paid parking in the downtown area of Aruba.
However, since the government removed the wheel clamps, Aruparking (the company in charge of paid parking) don’t have an official sanction to fine someone (other than towing their car).
The government wants to introduce a new sanction – send a fine home if you break any of the parking rules.
This will work for the local community, but what about tourist who are driving car rentals? It’s nearly impossible to send a fine home for a visitor.
So the government is thinking of introducing a new way for tourist to pay for parking – one idea the prime minister brought forward during a press conference was to charge the car rental companies a tariff that will be included in the car rental price, that allows you to park for free in the downtown area.
This way you don’t have to worry about paying for parking in the downtown area, because it’s already included in your car rental quote.
However, this hasn’t been made official yet – at the moment your car rental quotes excludes this tariff.
Contact me, if you’re want to rent a car in Aruba, but you’re not sure where to rent from.
Olde Molen Murder Suspect Turns Himself In
The person who fatally shot a 26 year old (Ralph De Palm) near olde molen nightclub, turned his self into the police, after the cops issued a detention order in the media.
The prime suspect related to this shooting is a 22 year old named Erick Schneiders.
The police didn’t mention any more information and are investigating the case at the moment.
Pilot Arrested After Denying Instructions
The police arrested a pilot after he denied to follow instructions from the control tower at the airport in Aruba.
According to a spokesperson from Aruba’s airport, the pilot took off for Venezuela from Aruba, and a few minutes later after he made a return for Aruba, but he denied to follow instructions when he turned back to land on Aruba.
A delta airline flight was just coming in, and he could of put the lives of many people in danger.
The public ministry seized the plane and are investigating the case.
The pilot is still under arrest and will probably lose his license.
Jet-blue To Use Face Recognition
Jet-blue is going to partner with u.s customs to roll out a pilot program using face recognition to eliminate manual passport checks.
They are going to start the program in June 2017 with travelers who are departing from Boston’s Logan international airport to Aruba.
You can participate in the pilot program without any prior enrollment or registration.
If you choose to participate in the face registration system during the check in process, you won’t be needing your boarding passes.
Just step up to the camera for a picture that recognizes your face.
The camera is connected to a database that contains your flight details.
Shorter lines during check in, gets you faster to paradise 🙂
New Solar Park in Aruba
Aruba is going to get a solar park in the district of lago heights – it’s called “sunrise solar park”.
This week there was a groundbreaking ceremony for the new solar park.
Richard Branson was a distinguished guests during the ceremonial opening.
The addition of this solar park will bring Aruba closer to the 100% renewable energy vision of the prime minister.
Sunrise solar park will be completed within a year and will be the biggest solar park in the Caribbean region.
A total of 15.000 solar panels will be producing 6 MW of electricity for the island.
Aruba is one of the only islands in the Caribbean that is making great progress into sustainable innovations.
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