The spill occurred on November 27.
By Arodiegwu Eziukwu
The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) has commenced recovery and clean-up of crude discharged into the Atlantic Ocean from its oil export terminal off Bayelsa coastline on November 27.
Eni, the Italian Energy firm and parent company of NAOC, had said that it was investigating the cause of the oil discharge it reported to the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
Residents along the Bayelsa coastline said on Monday that oil spill response workers deployed by Agip were seen in the waterways and along the coastline.
It was gathered that the oil workers deployed in the sea were using plastic materials called ‘boom’ to keep the oil floating on the water surface from spreading further.
The oil workers were seen recovering remnants of the crude yet to evaporate from the ocean surface.
The oil workers seen at Odioama operate with three boats while one of the boats contained a large plastic container for recovering crude from the water surface, one conveyed personnel, while the third carried materials.
Residents in the affected fishing settlements were unanimous that officials of Agip were yet to engage them in discussions to fashion a way of mitigating the negative impact of the spill on fishing activities.
Chairman of Bayelsa chapter of Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, Elizabeth Egbe, said that the oil leak had compelled 3000 fishermen to stop fishing.
Ebipre Omubo,Youth President of Ewoama community in Brass Local Government Area, said the oil firm was insensitive to the plight of the fishing communities.
“Our community is seriously impacted by the current oil spill from Agip’s platform in the Sea. Our fishing activities have been halted due to the effect of the spill.
“This is why we are calling on Agip to come to the aid of the Ewoama community with relief materials and compensation.
“I was reliably informed that Agip is using chemicals to sink the crude oil in the Sea. I also took some samples of crude oil impacted soil from our coastline.
“As far as this spill is concerned, the attitude of Agip toward the impacted communities remains unacceptable. Yes, I am aware that the fishermen at Mbikiri in Twon-Brass, Okpoama, Odioama and Dieama are seriously affected too.” Omubo said.
The youth leader also noted that the oil firm was yet to communicate or respond to several letters from affected communities, adding that the neglect was regrettable.
Efforts to obtain comments from Agip were unsuccessful as Tajudeen Adigun, the spokesperson for the oil firm, rebuffed all requests for comments.
NAOC’s parent company, Eni, did not also respond to email enquiry.