By DAPO OLAWUNI
Fresh indications have emerged that the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel which exploded in Warri, Delta state on Wednesday had failed Safety tests by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) as at year 2017.
According to a reliable source who was former Director of Maritime Safety at the agency (names withheld), the FPSO Trinity Spirit is not supposed to be operating on Nigerian waters in the first place.
Recalls that the FPSO Trinity Spirit, located at the Ukpokiti terminal, around Escravos, Warri, had exploded and sunk in the early hours of Wednesday with 10 seafarers onboard.
The Chief Executive Officer, Shebah Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Ikemefuna Okafor, had confirmed the explosion.
In reaction to the ugly incident, the NIMASA source said “The FPSO trinity spirit was rejected for registration by Safety Department in 2017. The facility was out of class as at then, though had a Liberian Registry certificate. The vessel was poorly maintained as was reported”
He stated that the FPSO was an accident waiting to happen since 2017.
“The best thing to have done years back is to red flag the boat and frequently inspect it for compliance. Upon series of continuous non-conformity, tell the owners to take it out of Nigerian waters or we scrap it. We could have saved lives, property and the environment”
“The incubating egg of disaster just hatched, it should not even have been allowed to stay or operate in Nigerian waters”
Speaking on the aftermath of the explosion, he said the communities around the site have to brace up for marine environment disaster.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has commenced investigations into the explosion.
In a statement on Thursday, the spokesman of the NUPRC, Paul Osu, said the commission is working closely with relevant agencies to get to the root of the matter.
“NUPRC wishes to announce that an explosion leading to a major fire on an evacuation vessel at Ukpokiti field (OML 108) in Delta State was reported by our operations team on Wednesday 2nd February 2022.
“The commission, in line with its statutory regulatory oversight of upstream petroleum operations in the Nigerian oil and gas industry, has commenced investigations into the incident in conjunction with relevant stakeholders and will provide updates appropriately.
“There has been no report of any casualties or fatalities, and 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,” Osu said.