The direct impact of the Bonga oil spill is set to be known through the Post Impact Assessment, PIA, report on the disaster, the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, said on Tuesday.
The agency’s Director-General, Mr Peter Idabor, told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja that NOSDRA had been supervising the post-impact assessment being handled by Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.
He said the report of the assessment would delineate the areas affected spill to enable the agency to address it accordingly.
Idabor said that the company had already applied ‘dispersant’ on the spill in the affected areas, adding: “They use dispersants which are chemicals to spray on the surface of the water, which now makes the crude oil to go to the bottom.
“I believe that the crude oil is still there. We have recommended that Shell should be responsible, to an extent, for the loss of fishing sites and fishing grounds for these people.
“So, what Shell is doing is to carry out, in conjunction with us, we are supervising it, Post Impact Assessment and they have finished all the samplings; I think that they are in the final stages of bringing up the report.”
NAN recalls that the Bonga oil spill, with a loss of 35,000 barrels, occurred on Dec. 20, 2011, during a routine export operation to transfer crude oil from Bonga’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading, FPSO.
NAN learnt that since the disaster, economic activities had been at its lowest ebb because fishermen and farmers could no longer engage in their businesses.
Meanwhile, a pressure group, Conference of Niger Delta Youths Representatives, claimed that the spill affected five states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo and Rivers states.
The director-general said the PIA would also reveal if the spill affected the five states as claimed by the group.
He, however, admitted that the spill had affected the livelihood of the communities in those states.
“The dispersant actually affected the people living on the land because of the way it was indiscriminately deployed by the oil company.
“They suffer from the effects; air borne particles of dispersants were spread on the people along the coastline in some of the communities.
“For me, I don’t understand, if there is a spill, it moves in one direction; what we know is that this spill moved towards Delta and Bayelsa states.
“I don’t know how it would move backward to Akwa Ibom; it is a difficult thing for me to determine but the Post Impact Assessment will tell us the areas that have been impacted by this spill,” he said.
Similarly, he said that NOSDRA had been ensuring that clean up exercise was carried out in areas affected by the spill from the Brass export terminal operated by AGIP.
He said that NOSDRA staff had been deployed to supervise the clean-up exercise in the oil spills from Rumekpe crude delivery line that polluted the Ikarama community in Yenogoa.
“In the case of Brass, the oil company did not deny; they know it was not caused by sabotage so they borrowed our vessel for the clean-up.
“They borrowed it and they used it for clean-up for over 10 days. Our people are giving us feedback and we will try to estimate the extent of damage done in the areas before taking further actions,“ he said.