The Shebah Exploration & Production Company Limited (SEPCOL), on Sunday said bodies of unauthorised persons were founded around Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) named ‘Trinity Spirit vessel that exploded recently at the Ukpokiti Terminal on February 2, 2022.
The company disclosed this in a statement issued by its Chief Executive Officer, Ikemefuna Okafor said the company found a total of five bodies on and around the vessels.
He, however, disclosed that new information on the recent fire on the FPSO vessel indicated that unauthorised persons were on site at the time of the incident.
Recall that the FPSO vessel had 10 crew members on board during the incident. As at February 7, 2022, three crew members were found dead, while three others were rescued.
Okafor said that since February 3, when the fire was contained, the company had been working relentlessly with relevant authorities, agencies, experts, and the communities, focused on search and rescue of the 10 crew members.
According to him, the company had also prioritised police Investigations and environmental damage assessment.
“We have kept up the search and rescue efforts, with the collaboration of the Police, NUPRC, NIMASA, NOSDRA, Marine Police, the communities, and local fishermen. The community leaders and traditional rulers have also been of great support.
“We have been in regular contact with the three survivors and their family members and ensured that all three received appropriate medical care in hospital. They have all been discharged from hospital and the company has continuously offered support with any post-trauma care that may be required,” it noted.
However, he said a total of five bodies had been found on and around the vessel, while the bodies have been handed over to the police for due process to establish the identities of the deceased persons.
“A forensic pathologist and a coroner have been appointed to assist with the autopsy and identification processes. The company has also paid condolence visits to the next-of-kins and family members of all persons still missing.
“We have kept the families abreast of the developments and apprised them of the relevant next steps in the investigation processes. Furthermore, the company has provided interim financial support to the immediate families and dependents of all 10 persons on board,” he added.
Conversely, he said recently, the company found new information that persons who were not authorised nor scheduled to be on duty on the FPSO were in fact on the vessel at the time of the incident.
“This is a significant development. The company has visited the families in sympathy, and the police has been notified for further investigation. We are eager for the autopsy and identification processes to be concluded as soon as possible so that families can have the certainty and closure that they need.
“We have focused efforts on minimising any damage that the incident might have on the environment and have been cooperating with the relevant authorities and regulatory agencies carrying out the investigations,” he said.
He hinted that aerial surveillance by overflights around the FPSO area and the shoreline had been ongoing, led by NOSDRA and supported by Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA), NUPRC and neighbouring IOCs (Chevron and Shell).
“Until the final reports from these investigations are released by the relevant authorities and agencies, the company is not at liberty to make any declarations as to the level of environmental impact or any conclusions as to the cause of the explosion.
“We will continue to monitor developments in the investigations and update all stakeholders with new information accordingly. In the interest of public safety and the investigation process, we appeal to members of the public to stay away from the vessel, and not attempt to scavenge for parts and equipment from the vessel,” he added.