On Thursday, a tanker with a storage capacity of two million barrels of oil has blasted off the coast of Delta in southern Nigeria. This explosion of oil enhances the threats of an environmental disaster and disturbs the fate of its crew, suggested by the crew. Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd (SEPCOL) reported that flames had covered the Trinity Spirit following the blast a day before. According to the operator, the offloading tanker could process up to 22,000 barrels per day.
The tanker was placed at the Ukpokiti Terminal, on the edge of the oil-rich Niger Delta area. An assistant boat driver, Joe Sunday, informed he was in one of the two speedboats out at sea on Wednesday morning to pick a few crew members late due to work and couldn’t reach the tanker.
He also said he and his team drove around to see if they could see others, but they did not see anyone, and the fire was still combusting.
The chairman of Maritime Union for Nigerian Ports Authority, Tiby Tea, confirmed that two boats sent out to the tanker did not find anyone.
SEPCOL Chief Executive Ikemefuna Okafor said that they hadn’t reported any fatality; however, we can ensure that ten crew workers were on board the tanker before the incident happened.
He also added that an investigation was still going on to figure out the actual reason for the accident.
The threat of Oil Spill
NUPRC, Nigeria’s regulatory agency for upstream operations, reported that the blast had resulted in a “major fire”, which started investigations into the incident.
Spokesman Paul Osu said the commission would take the required measures to ensure all safety and environmental measures to protect lives and nature are put in place.
The AFP news agency was also on-site, acknowledging the incident. But the environmentalists were tensed about the possible impact, as stated by Idris Musa, director of NOSDRA.
From the 1970s, the oil-rich Nigeria Delta Area has taken as a significant part for the earnings of Nigeria.
However, the area still suffers the effects of environmental degradation from the decades, which has fretted livelihoods and deprived residents of basic amenities. The area’s mangroves and swamps are becoming uninhabitable for various species. The average human life expectancy is also ten years lesser in the Delta than in the other place in Nigeria.
Nigeria, being Africa’s largest crude producer, operational costs are high because of sudden accidents and extensive insecurity however, most accidents occur on the land.
Earlier, there have been attacks on oil facilities, piercing pipelines to obtain crude oil and increased kidnappings for the pay-off.
Nigerian pirates are also alert in the broader areas of the resource-rich Gulf of Guinea, interrupting transport across the vast region extending from Senegal to Angola.