A carrier vessel carrying over 2 million barrels of oil exploded in Nigeria’s southern state, raising fears over a major environmental crisis. Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd on Thursday confirmed the explosion. The floating vessel can store up to 22000 oil barrels daily based on available information on the company’s website.
Images posted by the Cable on Twitter revealed the thick black smoke billowing from a seemingly sinking ship engulfed by huge flames. Nigeria’s agency for upstream operations affirmed that the explosion had led to a major fire issue and was set to commence investigations. Environmental activities were, however, keen on the potential impact on the environment with preliminary indications suggesting that it could reach surrounding communities. It is about 9000 Kilometers from Delta state to the Indian Ocean, which might seem far if this was plain land, however, given that, the distance is mostly covered by water and water travels to greater distances, there is a likelihood that the spill could also reach the Indian Ocean or at least its effects being felt.
Oil spills often kill marine mammals such as dolphins, whales, seals, and sea otters. A Spill of such magnitude could clog blowholes of dolphins and whales, making it extremely hard for them to breathe properly as well as their communication abilities. Oil coats also fur seals and otters predisposing them to hypothermia.