Trinity Spirit, a Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel with a capacity of processing about 22,000 barrels of oil daily can inject about 40,000 barrels of water daily, and also store two million barrels loaded with oil, has unexpectedly exploded. It has reportedly sunk near the Ukpokiti Terminal in Nigeria.
Reports suggested that 10 workers had been onboard the facilities, of which seven went missing, and three casualties were feared. The blast was also confirmed by the owner SEPCOL. A video of the incident has reportedly gone viral on social media platforms showing the vessel on fire as it sinks into the sea, with a thick layer of black smoke blowing into the sky.
Investigations are in progress to find the cause of the blast while trials to contain the scenario are in progress with the help of Clean Nigeria Associates, fishermen, and Chevron, which carries out operations around the Escravos facility.
It isn’t yet clear how many barrels were stored onboard before the incident, but the fears are still increasing about the size of the oil spill.
A Nigerian source suggested it was holding approximately 200,000 barrels when the incident took place, even though this couldn’t be established.
Nigeria’s government has described the impact of the spill to be similar to that of “Hiroshima”. The leaking oil killed marine life and caused extensive damage to waterways and mangroves.
The blast of the Trinity Spirit is the fourth major spill this year, following unexpected disasters in Thailand, Peru, and Ecuador.
Nigeria is the world’s 15th biggest oil-producing country, churning out more than 1.9m barrels/day, per figures reported in 2016.
Trinity FPSO explosion, this oil and gas jobs that don’t pay well anymore, with high risk😪😪 pic.twitter.com/fj5iV9qVlt
— Jaguda_rated (@franz411) February 3, 2022
The impact of oil leak from Trinity Spirit is more likely to be significantly lower than the recent large offshore oil leak, the Deepwater Horizon that leaked about 4.9 million barrels, in 2010, into the Gulf of Mexico.
The hull of Trinity Spirit was constructed in 1976. The latest upgrade happened in 1997, revealing the age of the vessel. The Trinity Spirit was reaching the end of its life, which is a significant cause of concern for similar types of vessels as well as for operations in Nigerian waters. This is because they conduct activities in a place that only has minimal regulations.
— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) February 3, 2022