A floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel exploded offshore Nigeria early on Wednesday with 10 crew members on board, the company operating the vessel said on Thursday.
The supertanker-sized vessel Trinity Spirit, capable of producing 22,000 barrels per day (bpd), exploded on Wednesday morning local time, TankerTrackers.com reported today.
The vessel has reportedly sunk, but visual confirmation that the tanker had sunk has yet to be received, according to TankerTrackers.
“At this time there are no reported fatalities but we can confirm that there were 10 crewmen on board the vessel prior to the incident and we are prioritising investigations with respect to their safety and security,” Ikemefuna Okafor, chief executive officer of the Nigerian company Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd (SEPCOL), said in a statement carried by Reuters.
Trinity Spirit held around 50,000 barrels of oil in storage, but it was not producing crude oil from the Ukpokiti oilfield in the block OML 108 offshore Nigeria when it exploded, an industry source from Nigeria’s oil sector told Reuters.
“We have duly notified all relevant authorities and we appeal to the members of the public to stay away from the area while our crisis management team continues to monitor the situation and update all stakeholders with new information as the investigation evolves,” said SEPCOL, as carried by Nigerian outlet Business Day.
It was not immediately clear how much the damage was or how much oil has spilled in the nearby waters, while fears mount about possible casualties.
The vessel is estimated to have last flared gas at the end of July 2021, TankerTrackers said. This suggests that the Trinity Spirit had not produced anything since that date, considering that gas flaring during crude production is widespread throughout the region, TankerTrackers noted.
This would be the sixth major oil spill in Nigeria so far this year, the tanker-tracking services added.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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