COASTAL SHORELINE COMMUNITIES AND INDIVIDUAL VICTIMS VERSION OF THE DEC. 20TH 2011 BONGA OIL SPILL.
They contended that the Shell group in accordance with good Practice as set out in the international safety guide for oil Tankers and Terminals (ISGOTT) would have the following-:
(a) The loading process should have been carefully monitored by the shell group on the Bonga FPSO and the MV Northia,
(b) The respective cargo volumes pumped/received should have been measured at both ends and the differential (if any) should have been calculated no less than hourly and noted down, and
(c) As soon as any appreciable differential is noted, being a tell tale sign of a leak, this should immediately be acted upon and loading stopped.
Instead the differentials were simply negligently and recklessly ignored for several hours with loading being permitted to continue in the meantime and hundreds thousands of Barrels of crude oil being pumped out into the sea.
These failures are plainly in breach of ISGOTT. The negligence and recklessness of the Shell group was further compounded and it is evidenced by their refusal or inability to accurately report the quantity of the spilled oil to the Nigerian regulatory authorities.
(1) National Oil Spill Detection and response Agency (NOSDRA)
(2) Department of Petroleum resources (DPR) and
(3) Nigerian Maritime and safety Agency ( NIMASA). The representatives of the shoreline communities further alleged that the refusal or negligent inability of the Shell group to promptly and accurately assess the quantity of oil spilt (at least over 1million barrels in their own estimation), inevitably led to their inadequate emergency response made to the spill.
The understanding of the spill had the direct consequence of delaying by at least one day the deployment of resources that ought to have been deployed to address what was in fact a Tier 3/category C event, being the most serious Oil Spill with the most serious environmental consequences.
In conclusion the representatives of the shoreline communities alleged that the over 1million barrel of crude oil in their estimation discharged into the sea due to gross negligent by the Shell group which covered a distance of approximately 185 kilometers along the Nigerian Coastline polluted its environment and impacted over 250,000 fisher person’s and 480 communities.
The incident compelled fisher person’s to desert the sea, polluted farmlands, vegetation and contaminated the environment in Ekeremo, southern Ijaw, and brass local government areas of Bayelsa state, Warri south, Warri north, Warri southwest, and Burutu local govts of Delta state, and some riverine areas in Ondo, Edo, and Akwa Ibom states.
They further asserted that the devastating effect of the Dec 20th 2011 spill has resulted to aggravated damages in the last eight years depriving impacted communities of their source of Livelihood and destroyed all aquatic life in the area which urgently requires clean up, remediation, rectification, restoration and compensation.
This series is from the stable of oil spills victims vanguard a non- governmental organization(NGO) incorporated with the corporate affairs commission OSPIVV is an initiative whose main object is dedicated to fight for compensation for victims of oil spill, health hazards of gas flaring, and accountability and transparency in the Extractive industries in Nigeria.
HARRISON JALLA is an Executive Director (OSPIVV)