…As Amaechi charges NIMASA board to complete deep blue sea project***
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 Ondo State.
The Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr Philip Kyanet, NIMASA Head of Corporate Communications, today 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.
He pointed out that all crew were evacuated safely, and firefighters were engaged by the company to try to put out the fire.
He said that NIMASA was working with the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) on the incident investigation, in line with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two agencies.
“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.
“Additionally, we advise operators in the country’s maritime domain 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 said.
In another development, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, has charged the newly inaugurated board of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to ensure speedy completion of the deep blue sea project.
Amaechi, while inaugurating members of the board on Thursday in Abuja, said that the project, when completed, would eradicate insecurity challenges on the country’s waterways.
The board has as Chairman, Mr Honourable Asita, with Bashir Jamoh and Victor Ochei as members.
Other members of the board are Chudi Offordile, Shehu Ahmed, Adekola Adefemi, Muhammed Abubakar, Hassan Mahmud, Eyewumi Neburagho and Rear Adm. Ibikunle Olaiya.
According to Amaechi, the deep blue sea project has been approved by the Federal Government, with over 60 per cent of its cost paid.`
”It is one project I have vowed to promote, inspite of all the interests, and there are too many interests fighting to stop it.
”Now, this board and the management is charged to go and complete that project.
”The Director-General NIMASA has reported in the past one or two weeks, several successful attempts at kidnapping people; they were kidnapped on our waterways and this project is geared toward stopping that.
”Where we are now is the local content of the project, in fact the gentlemen have virtually supplied almost everything for the project.
”I plead with you, so we do not become agents of those who don’t want this to succeed. I am sure we will be able to solve the insecurity problem if this is completed.
”So, you have the responsibility to discharge that quickly and discharge it according to law,” he said.
Amaechi said the success of NIMASA to a great extent would be dependent on the success of the deep blue sea project.
He, therefore, urged the management to work with the board to ensure the success of the project, which would ensure safety of the country’s waterways, a core mandate of the agency.
“Go and work together. Let the board know that there is a difference between board and management. Board initiates policies and management executes policies,’’ he said.
Responding on behalf of members of the board, Asita commended President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the members the opportunity to serve the country, pledging their commitment to deliver on their mandate.
”I have had cause to express some concerns to you before the inauguration about the insecurity on our waterways.
” I have also had cause to interact with members of the board and have had a few meetings with the Director-General of the agency.
”I want to assure you that we will work together peacefully, harmoniously, knowing the responsibilities of the board and management, and we will work together peacefully to deliver on our mandate.
”We are lucky to have a team of very competent eminent Nigerians as members of the management team of NIMASA.
”So, with the support of members of the board, I assure you that we will take the assignment you have given us very seriously and on behalf of the board, I want to thank you for the honour bestowed on us.
”It is only an irresponsible organisation that will play with the security of its economy.
“If we must trade as a country, we need the waterways to be safe, so we thank you for this opportunity and assure you that we will deliver on the mandate,’’ Asita said.