Wednesday’s explosion of a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading Vessel called Trinity Spirit FPSO, in Ugborodo (Escravos) offshore location has caused stir across social media platforms in Nigeria as reports claim 10 crew members onboard the ill-fated facility have been lost to the massive explosion.
The New Diplomat had earlier reported that Trinity Spirit FPSO went up in flames on Wednesday afternoon and rattled Escravos, an expanse offshore location in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, spilling its entire content to the marine environment.
Revealing Comments As FPSO Explosion Reportedly Kills 10 In Escravos, Messes N'Delta [Video] pic.twitter.com/A32mqTrfjY
— New Diplomat (@NewDiplomat1) February 3, 2022
The Chief Executive Officer, Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd (SEPCOL), Ikemefuna Okafor who confirmed the development had earlier claimed that there were no reported fatalities when the incident occured, adding that ten crew men were on board the vessel prior to the incident. SEPCOL, which has a stake in OML 108, owns the FPSO which had operated near Chevron oil field in Escravos.
But a maritime source who spoke with The New Diplomat disclosed that the crew members onboard the vessel were still missing as of the time of this reporting, expressing concern that time might have ran out to save lives onboard the facility, following the catastrophic incident amid the said search and rescue efforts underway by emergency responders.
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said the 22,000 bpd Trinity Spirit FPSO, built in 1976, sank moments after the heavy blast, Wednesday. The FPSO was equipped to store up 2 million barrels of oil.
Another maritime source who is familiar with SEPCOL’s operations told The New Diplomat in confidence that owners of the 46-year-old vessel “have been adviced to scrap the vessel, but failed to do so.” He alleged that “they will not want to pay unnecessary fees incase of eventualities.
“Normally ships are to live for 25-30 years. After that they become very expensive to operate/maintain and because of this the classification societies often advice the ship owners to scrap the vessel bcos they will not want to pay unnecessary fees and insurance liability incase of eventualities like what just happened to the FPSO Trinity Spirit.
The source who averred that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) must share in the blames going round since the FPSO exploded revealed that “NIMASA often sends inspectors to inspect all ships but due to some ship owners cutting corners, some of these staffs collect whatever the captains offer onboard and fail to penalize ships that fall below standard.”
Efforts by The New Diplomat to get reactions from NIMASA on the incident and some viral claims were yet to materialise.
However, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said it has begun investigation into the explosion.
The NUPRC’s spokesperson, Paul Osu, who made this known in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos, said the commission had commenced investigations into the incident in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and would provide updates appropriately.
The commission said the investigation is in line with its statutory regulatory oversight of upstream petroleum operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
“There has been no report of any casualties or fatalities.
“The commission will take necessary measures to ensure that all safety and environmental measures in line with global best practices to safeguard lives and the environment are put in place,” he said.
While most Nigerians are in shock over the explosion, others on their social media handles have blamed government for negligence. Some also lamented that the Federal Ministry of Transport, NIMASA, National Environmental and Safety Agency were yet to say a word since the catastrophe with dire ramifications on marine lives and the Niger Delta environment, that already ranks as one of the most polluted places on earth.
- See reactions from Nigerians:
“Like 80% of the vessels wey dey work for Chevron field no fit pass Mobil inspection let alone Total inspection.
“A FPSO should have a standby DP 2 vessel for fire fighting purpose. Honestly the fire fighting was very poor, not encouraging at all coupled with the fact that there was rescue attempt.”
“No rescue operation has been announced, this is a painful and disgraceful results of cutting cost or savings cost for company.”
“How can you buy or hire an umbrella to protect an estate against a rainfall, or how can a goat provides safety/security coverage for an elephant. Imagine the size of the firefighting service providing a fire emergency response for an FPSO.”
“Over 48 hrs of an FPSO explosion Nimasa and Min of transportation hasn’t made any official statement + no search and rescue operations.”
“This is an FPSO that can take ober 100 persons onboard. In 2010 when deep water Horizon explosion happend in US in few hrs the coastguard were ontop of it.”
“Na pollution me dey reason, a gas rig got burnt in 2011, till date, nothing was done. If you ask, they’ll say investigation is still on going.
“Waiting b our problems in this country, is it Buhari that cause dis wicked act of poor safety and security management ? Everyone will blame either Buhari or Devil. They are the two that receive all the blames in Nigeria now.”
“And the said FPSO is 46years old, exploring oil in the Nigerian waters for the govt. All certifications and license expired. Went out of class since 2010 and somehow it was still working. Like WHY CANT SYSTEMS WORK IN THIS COUNTRY.”
“They’re more Nigerians in management of Chevron than Total and even Mobil. They were just wasting their energy pumping the sea, because the water no reach the burning vessel.
“Even if e reach e go aggravate the situation sef imagine pouring normal water for diesel or fuel . U would worsen the situation except in the case of boundary cooling sha.
“There are lots of questions to be asked but anyways we are in Nigeria where nothing works so yeah. I think we all know the answer.”