The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has sent an investigative team to unravel the circumstances surrounding a recent fire incident at a wellhead offshore in Ondo State.
The NIMASA Director-General, Dr Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications on Thursday in Lagos.
Jamoh pointed out that the incident involved a barge belonging to Michharry and Company Nigeria Limited, an offshore and onshore facilities provider for the oil and gas industry.
He noted 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.
“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.
“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.
“As the maritime industry regulator, we would also not hesitate to mete out sanctions where necessary to deter abuse.
“Certainly, the Nigerian maritime industry and the economy will be the beneficiaries of the outcome of our work on this incident,” he said.
Jamoh 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.
He disclosed the location to be Ororo1, in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95, adding that the site was a Chevron platform sold to local investors.
The NIMASA DG said that 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.
He noted that this was followed by a fire outbreak at the wellhead location, adding that there was no reported pollution following degenerative status of the platform due to the fire.