*One dead, 3 rescued; investigation ongoing

By Udeme Akpan & Johnbosco Agbakwuru

The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, has classified the latest Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited, SEPCOL, oil spill under a tier 2.

A tier 2 oil spill is an incident beyond the capacity of a single company to handle and requires the involvement of Clean Nigeria Associates, CNA, a non-profit organisation and several oil-producing companies.

Director-General, NOSDRA, Idris Musa, confirmed the development in a telephone interview with Vanguard, yesterday, after an overfly of the area during the Joint Investigation Visit, JIV.

He said members of the JIV included NOSDRA, SEPCOL, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, Ministry of Environment and Community representatives.

Specifically, Musa, whose agency was established in 2006 as an institutional framework to coordinate the implementation of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, NOSCP, for Nigeria in accordance with the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation (OPRC 90) to which Nigeria is a signatory, said: “We started the JIV yesterday (Saturday)

” Today, we have just completed the overfly of the area, noticing sheen (oil) flowing towards the ocean. All relevant stakeholders are represented, including the host community.”

One dead, 3 rescued

Already, the management of SEPCOL has announced the rescue of three out of the 10 crew members on board its offshore facility, FPSO Trinity Spirit.

In a statement obtained by Vanguard, Chief Executive Officer, SEPCOL, Mr. Ikemefuna Okafor, stated: “The management of Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd (SEPCOL) in recievership, hereby provide further update on the missing crew members following the unfortunate explosion and subsequent fire that engulfed the FPSO Trinity Spirit at the Ukpokiti Terminal in the early hours of Wednesday, 2nd of February 2022.

“We can confirm that three crew members have been found alive in the community and our priority is to ensure that they receive the appropriate medical attention they need.

“Furthermore, in the early hours of Sunday 6th February 2022, one dead body was discovered in the vicinity of the FPSO. The identity of the dead body is yet to be ascertained.

“As earlier confirmed, the fire burnt out completely as of Thursday afternoon, 3rd February 2022, thus enabling closer inspection of the vessel.

“A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) with the relevant authorities, stakeholders, and expert organisations took place on Saturday, 5th February 2022.

“The focus of our joint efforts is to prioritise investigations towards establishing the whereabouts, safety, and security of the 7 crew members still missing, clean up and limit damage to the environment, and establish the cause of the explosion.

“We appreciate the assistance provided by the Clean Nigeria Associates, the Chevron team, NOSDRA, NUPRC, SPDC, NIMASA and people in the community, particularly the fishermen, who have been of immense assistance since the incident occurred.

“Members of the public should continue to keep away from the area while our Crisis Management Team monitors developments in the investigations and update all stakeholders with new information accordingly.”

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