26 December 2013, Abuja – The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, says it has activated its National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, NOSCP, to respond effectively to oil spill disaster in the country.
The Director-General of the agency, Mr Peter Idabor, told the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, that in order to ensure the workability of the plan, NOSDRA in collaboration with Shell Petroleum Company put the plan to the test by mimicking an oil spill situation.
Idabor, who said that the test was successfully carried out, explained that one of the reasons for the creation of NOSDRA was to ensure prompt response to oil spill disaster in the country.
“We simulated a spill had happened and we called all the stakeholders, including the Army, the Police, the Customs and the Immigration.
“All these were deployed as if there was a real spill; there was a plane that came from London and another one from Ghana.
“The background of the simulation is that we pretended that one of the facilities of Shell had been attacked by over 60 boats carrying armed militants who had shot at six tanks.
“And that two out of the six tanks were now linking and 16,000 barrels (of oil) had gone into the ocean.
“We called in the Army and Air Force to get ready and things like that; after 48 hours, we told everybody to stand down, that it was just a drill.”
Speaking further on the achievements of NOSDRA in 2013, the director-general said that the agency had also deployed its vessel for the first time.
NAN recalls that the 19-metre pollution intervention vessel, `Recovery 1’, was unveiled in August by the former Minister of Environment, Mrs Hadiza Mailafia.
Idabor stated that the activation of the plan and the deployment of the agency’s vessel proved to be very efficient when a real spill happened in AGIP immediately after the simulation activities.
He said that the vessel was diverted to the affected areas and other stakeholders were there to collaborate with the agency to ensure the clean-up of the sites.
In addition, he said that the agency had established a web-based oil spill monitor for reporting oil spills in the country.
“We have set up what we call an oil spill monitor. This oil spill monitor helps us to know oil companies that are polluting more than the others, which sites have been cleaned up and which sites have not been cleaned up over time.”
He said that the platform would be launched officially in January, explaining that information received on the monitor would be reported to the minister.
According to him, it is the first time the country is having an oil spill monitor.
He said that the monitor had been showing the performance of the oil companies.
The director-general, however, said that the agency had been collaborating with other countries in West, Central Africa as well as South Africa, where “countries come together to help combat disaster that happen to any country”.
He said that the agency was also affiliated to the International Petroleum Association and International Maritime Organisation, to share experiences and learn best practices on addressing oil spills.