By Godwin Oritse & Godfrey Bivbere
LAGOS— Management of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has described the denial of Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, on Bonga oil spill as irresponsible.
Speaking to newsmen in Lagos, yesterday, NIMASA’s Director-General, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi, said the inaction of the international oil firm over the management of the spill left much to be desired.
Shell had reportedly denied that the spill originated from their Bonga Floating Production Storage Off Facility, FPSO, insisting that investigation was still ongoing.
However, Akpobolokemi said: “Shell has not lived up to its responsibility.”
He said Shell, at a point, stated that there was another spill from a third party without proper proof, adding that NIMASA’s investigation revealed that there was no spill from a third party.
He categorically stated that the entire spill was caused by Shell and that the spill came from its Bonga operations 120 nautical miles off Nigerian coast. He noted that the entire ecosystem and aquatic life in that region had been affected, stressing there was near epidemic crisis situation in the area.
Akpobolokemi said: “Shell has neither behaved properly nor responsibly in this matter. Their response to the spill falls short of national and international standards.
“From our investigation so far, even though the spill was announced December 20, we are sure the spill occurred long before that date.
“I am sure they have tried to cover up the spill until it became unbearable for them and they had no choice than to make the spill public.
“It is evident that from the FPSO to the Single Buoy Mooring, SBM, there are three discharge lines that Shell uses to move crude and these lines have 25 years warranty.
“Two of these lines were built by the same company, but the maker of the last one is unknown to us and these lines have been in operation for only 6 years.
“The pipes are 412 meters below the sea surface, meaning the spill may have occurred days before it came to the surface of the waters.”