A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Oil spill: Impacted communities assured of compensation

Neville Amorighoye

09 April 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – Magistrate Nureni Kuranga, the president, Marine Board of Inquiry into the oil spill by J. S. Amazing vessel, has assured the 248 communities comprising Itsekiri, Ijaw, Urhobo and Ilaje, impacted by oil pollution, that adequate compensation would be paid to them from International Oil Pollution (IOPC) fund.

He also assured that lasting solutions would be proffered to forestall a repeat of such pollution in Nigeria’s territorial waters.

Magistrate Kuranga gave the assurance, weekend, in Warri, Delta State, when members of Marine Board of Inquiry visited the site, where the vessel, J. S. Amazing spilled its content while loading diesel at the PPMC jetty in Ijala, Delta State.

He said: “From the facts available before us, it is clear that a spill occurred and indigenes of the affected communities have been adversely affected and due for adequate compensation.”

It will be recalled that J. S. Amazing, a vessel contracted by Dangote Group to lift diesel from Warri on June 6, 2009, spilled its content into Warri river from Ijala, an Itsekiri community where PPMC loading jetty was located. The spilled oil flowed downstream, impacting about 248 communities comprising Itsekiri, Ijaw, Urhobo, and Ilaje before emptying into the Atlantic.

There had been controversies over the mode and manner communities impacted were to be compensated and who should bear the cost, hence the Marine Board of Inquiry was set up to, amongst others, investigate the circumstances that led to the incident; authenticate the veracity of the incident as reported; ascertain the legal status of the ship and its tonnage capacity and find out if the ship was covered by relevant insurance policy as provided by IOPC funds convention.

The board was also to find out any action if and when taken by any relevant/appropriate agency in Nigeria and determine the extent of oil spill and cost estimate.

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