WATCH oil tanker explode off Nigerian coast
Trinity Spirit had ten crewmen aboard and was capable of storing two million barrels of oil
Oil production ship Trinity Spirit sank off the coast of Nigeria after an explosion in the early hours of Wednesday. A video of the vessel bursting into flames was captured and posted to social media.
The explosion happened at the Ukpokiti oil field near the Escravos terminal off Nigeria’s coast.
The vessel, known as a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO), was owned by the Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd (SEPCOL), which confirmed the incident.
The company’s chief executive Ikemefuna Okafor said the ten crewmembers were aboard the ship at the moment of the explosion. Seven are reported to be missing, with three feared casualties.
“At this time there are no reported fatalities, but we can confirm that there were ten crew men on board the vessel prior to the incident and we are prioritizing investigations with respect to their safety and security,” he said, as cited by Reuters.
Okafor said investigations were underway to determine the cause of the explosion and that local communities and a nearby Chevron facility are helping to contain the situation.
The Trinity Spirit, built in 1976, had a capacity to process up to 22,000 barrels of oil per day and store two million barrels, operating in a manner similar to an offshore oil rig.
It remains unclear how much oil may have been spilled in the incident, but experts are concerned that Nigeria could be facing its second environmental disaster in months after a disused capped oil wellhead began releasing 20,000 barrels of oil per day for one month into the waterways of Nembe in Bayelsa State.
The local mangroves and maritime life were severely damaged in the affected area, which was described as being “like Hiroshima” by the local authorities.