More details have emerged on how a Floating Producing Supply and Offloading (FPSO) vessel went up in flames at the Ukpokiti oil field Oil Mining Lease (OML) 108 in Delta State.
The vessel, Trinity Spirit at the Ukpokiti Terminal in the Escravos axis of the state was said to have exploded around 1am on Wednesday.
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The facility belongs to Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited (SEPCOL) just as it was learnt that some crew members aboard were missing as rescue operations began immediately with rescuers from multinational oil companies whose facilities are located nearby battle to put out the fire while searching for the crew members.
A statement by the Chief Executive Officer, Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited, Ikemefuna Okafor, said the cause of the explosion was being investigated.
However, a maritime expert, Captain Warredi Imasuen, in his comment ruled out chances of any survival in the ill-fated FPSO.
He said the hour the explosion occurred was not an operational hour and that both the Nigerian Navy and management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) should try to find out, through FALCON I, if the FPSO was discharging the product.
The maritime expert also said there was the need to verify if the ship had renewed its classification before it commenced operation in Nigeria.
Imasuen noted that the ship, a Liberian flagged vessel, was allegedly refused operation in Liberia five years ago.
“The question now is that did the ship switch flags through the back door before it started operation in Nigeria. What are the safety standards? Are the crew qualified to man the ship,” he enquired.
NUPRC dismisses death fears, probes incident
Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga komolafe, told Bloomberg that he had ordered field operatives to move in and carry out a fullscale incident report.
According to the report, Komolafe said there will be no speculation from the agency while the probe is carried out. He also did not provide a timeframe for the work.