22 March 2015, Lagos – The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has entered into agreement with Omni-Blu Aviation Limited to use specialised aircraft (air tractors) for oil spill combat emergency in Nigeria.
The deal is under Public Private Partnership (PPP) with annual subscription – payable by all international oil companies and other industry operators based on average production factor.
Speaking during stakeholders’ meeting on aerial capacity building on oil spill management in Abuja recently, the Director-General of NOSDRA, Peter Idabor stated that the strategic alliance with the firm was a modern approach that was in line with global best practices.
Idabor explained that the aerial spill combat capacity programme would involve using customised aircraft located within Nigeria shores to, amongst others, undertake surveillance and aerial dispersant spraying.
The DG said with NOSDRA’s partnership arrangement with Omni-Blu Aviation Limited, the dream of having a tier-3 oil spill response capacity fully domiciled in the country was coming to fruition, with the Ground Receiving Station of the aerial surveillance equipment positioned at the agency’s Incident Command Centre.
He further noted that the specialised aircraft will enhance NOSDRA’s regulatory capacity by enabling the agency and all stakeholders to effectively handle major spills in deep and shallow water areas.
Speaking in the same vein, Minister of Environment, Mrs. Lawrencia Mallam, expressed delight at the partnership arrangement on aerial management of oil spills, saying that the laudable initiative is in line with the transformation agenda of the federal government.
The minister urged relevant stakeholders, including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), to support the aerial capacity project.
Chairman of Omni-Blu Aviation Limited, Akin Olateru explained that when fully implemented, “the aerial aviation service, the first of its kind in Nigeria and indeed West Africa, would optimise the window of opportunity for timely application of dispersant to contain the spread of oil spills and significantly reduce consequent environmental damage, as well as swiftly and efficiently deploy aerial fire-fighting to support ground efforts in the event of associated spill fire incidents or accidents”.
He stated that his company has acquired air tractor 802 installed with Infra-red cameras’ to relay pictures, in real time, to base; enabling prompt and effective real time assessment and analysis to enhance decision making.
According to him, two new AT-802 aircraft are fully dedicated, registered and domiciled in Nigeria. Aside that, it does aerial surveillance and tracking services – real time detection and reporting of oil spills.
Air tractors, he said, was a specialised aircraft manufactured for spraying and used over the world for agriculture and fire fighting.
*Chinedu Eze – Thisday