From Anthony Nwachukwu, Lagos
A team of Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standard Department (MSSSD) and Marine Environment Management (MEM) Department of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has been dispatched to conduct an on-the-spot assessment and detailed analysis of the recent fire incident at a wellhead offshore Ondo State.
Also, for their safety, and to aid investigative and remediation works, the agency has advised mariners and other maritime stakeholders to avoid the areas affected by the fire at Ororo1 in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95 – a Chevron platform sold to local investors.
The incident involved a barge belonging to an offshore and onshore facilities provider for the oil and gas industry, Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited, a statement by the NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, Philip Kyanet, disclosed.
Accordingly, preliminary investigation showed that the barge, JUV Bellaton – a 300 Series SEWOP owned by Michharry and operated by Guarantee Petroleum, had been working on the offshore oil rig, Grace 1 HWU, when it experienced gas and oil leakages.
Consequently, there was a fire outbreak at the wellhead location, the agency said, though there was no reported pollution following degenerative status of the platform due to the fire, just as all crew were evacuated safely, and the company engaged firefighters to put it out.
Meanwhile, NIMASA said it was investigating the incident alongside the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) in line with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between them.
According to the Director-General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, “as the national agency statutorily responsible for ensuring a clean, pollution-free and friendly marine environment for safe shipping activities, NIMASA has swung into action with our standard procedures to get to the root of this fire incident.
“We will do a thorough analysis of the situation with a view to unraveling the cause of the fire and preventing future occurrence.
“As the maritime industry regulator, we would also not hesitate to mete sanctions where necessary to deter abuse. The Nigerian maritime industry and the economy will be the beneficiaries of the outcome of our work on this incident.
“Additionally, we advise operators in the country’s maritime domain to always report incidents at their locations to NIMASA in good time and shun actions capable of endangering their own safety and operations, as well as those of others.”