Bonga oil leak pollutes Delta communities

Emma Arubi
& Akpokona Omafauiare.

27 December 2011, Sweetcrude, WARRI – Shell Nigeria exploration and Production Company’s, SNEPCo’s concern that the Bonga field oil spill might affect some coastal communities have been confirmed with crude oil suspected to have floated from Bonga spreading across the Beniboye, Odimodi and Ogulagha and Forcados rivers in Burutu council area of Delta state.

There is also concern in oil-rich Ugborodo communities on the Atlantic fringes – where Sweetcrude undertook a joint inspection with NIMASA officials to see the extent of the impact of the pollution.

As a result the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, has called on the SNEPCo to act fast to halt it spread to other areas.

The call was made on Monday as a team from the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency who arrived Warri from Lagos yesterday  and went straight to the shore of the Atlantic ocean at Beniboye in Delta State to ascertain the impact the Bonga oil spill and to also take samples of the spill.

Captain Warredi Enisuoh, Deputy Director of  NMASA, who led the team while speaking to newsmen after a visit said one of the affected communities in Burutu local government urged shell to rush to the area to contain and clean up the spill.

“At this particular point in time, we definitely know that there is a spill in the area, but however, Shell did do what they can to contain that particular spill, we do have some more spills offshore area around the Beniboye community of Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State and we have taken samples of that oil, but we cannot at this particular point in time confirm whether it is from the Bonga Oil Spill or not, only a scientific analysis will determine this.”

“But from what our team has just seen, it is appalling, it is not very good to see and as you can see, we are here and the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Mr Patrick Akpobolokemi was very concerned hence he sent this particular team to go out there and see things for ourselves and probably at some points, bring pressure on the people responsible and possibly we all join our efforts to do something so that the communities in the area do not suffer beyond what they are likely to face at the moment,” he stated.

Responding to a question, Captain Enisuoh who was also accompanied by Marine Environment Team said that,”My report is that, we have to do something as quickly as possible before it goes beyond what we have found. We are not going to under estimate the ecological and economic damage it will cause and so we will use this medium to appeal that something be done immediately.

“Shell knows the situation on ground at the moment. I was with the Managing Director of Shell few days ago and he was quick to instruct his officials to clean up any oil in the area irrespective of whether it was from Shell or not which was a very good move and I must commend him for that. Like I have said, this one that we have found which is currently threatening the coast at the moment has to be dealt with immediately and it will not be right to go for or blame somebody. I think the effort should concentrate on fixing the situation as soon as possible.”

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