The Inter – Agency Maritime Security Task Force has come hard on two of the leading oil marketers expansive tank farms in Lagos, scoring them low on adherence to health, safety and environment (HSE) guidelines governing their operations.
The task force which was inaugurated last year by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshal Paul Dike was charged with the responsibility of checking all acts of illegalities on Nigerian waters. Its membership is drawn from security agencies and other relevant agencies such as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA), the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Handing down the verdict of non-compliance with guidelines on Conoil and African Petroleum in Lagos last week, the task force chairman, Rear Admiral Dele Ezeoba told Shipping Position Weekly after an inspection tour of the facilities at the tank farms belonging to the two companies that there were clear cases of negligence and disrespect for safety and environmental guidelines.
Apparently making reference to other tank farms that have been visited by his group or that have appeared before, ,he declared that most of the tank farm operators failed to control their wastes, a development which is capable of endangering the health of those living close to the facilities as well as people working in the farms.
Making specific reference to the facilities at African Petroleum and Conoil, Rear Admiral Ezeoba stressed that “what we have seen while conducting this search is that they have not been able to address the waste management of spillage and waste products that have come out of their operations. In order words, there are buckets of wastes that have accumulated overtime in their channeling system which have not been treated through a proper waste management system, in order words, all these constitute health hazards and environmental issues do emanate from such habits.”
He advised owners of petroleum products reception facilities, otherwise called tank farms to embrace waste to wealth management methods instead of directing wastes that are emanating from their operations into the Lagos lagoon.
Prior to touring the tank farms, the task force had invited owners of the tank farms to present relevant documents to confirm the legality of their operations and the level of compliance with extant guidelines.
The task force which is expected to also extend its work to Port Harcourt and Warri has been sitting in Lagos since it began its work last December.