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NIMASA begins investigation on cause of fire incident at wellhead offshore in Ondo

…Warns mariners to avoid impacted area

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) said on Thursday in Lagos that it had sent a factfinding team to unravel the circumstances surrounding a recent fire incident at a wellhead offshore in Ondo State.

The incident, which involved a barge belonging to Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited, an offshore and onshore facilities provider for the oil and gas industry, occurred at the site of a Chevron platform sold to local investors.

A statement by Philip Kyanet, head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA, stated that the officers from the Maritime Safety and Seafarers Standard Department (MSSSD) and Marine Environment Management (MEM) Department of the Agency would conduct both on-the-spot assessment and detailed analysis of the incident.

According to Kyanet, NIMASA also advised mariners and other maritime stakeholders to steer clear of the areas affected by the fire for their own safety and to aid the investigative and remediation work at the location, Ororo1, on Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95.

“Preliminary investigation revealed 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 leakages of gas and oil, which led to a fire outbreak at the wellhead location, although there was no reported pollution following degenerative status of the platform due to the fire,” Kyanet stated.

He further stated that all crew were evacuated safely, and firefighters were engaged by the company to try to put out the fire.

He further stated that NIMASA was working with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on the incident investigation, in line with an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two agencies.

Meanwhile, Bashir Jamoh, director-general of NIMASA, has said that “As the national agency statutorily responsible for ensuring a clean, pollution- free, and friendly marine environment for safe shipping, NIMASA has swung into action with our standard procedures to get to the root of this fire incident. A team of officers from the relevant departments of the Agency has been dispatched to the site. We will do a thorough analysis of the situation with a view to unraveling the cause of the fire and preventing future occurrence.”

He noted that NIMASA would also not hesitate to mete out sanctions where necessary to deter abuse, adding that Nigerian maritime industry and the economy will be the beneficiaries of the outcome of the agency’s work on this incident.

“At this point, let me advise maritime stakeholders to keep away from the areas affected by the fire. This is for their own safety and to avoid anything that can jeopardise or hinder the ongoing investigation. We advise operators 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,” he added.

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