The Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) on Monday began recovery and clean-up of crude discharged into the Atlantic Ocean from its oil export terminal off Bayelsa coastline on Nov. 27. Residents along the coastline told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews that spill response workers deployed by Agip were seen in the waterways and along the coastline.
They said that workers deployed to the sea used plastic materials called ‘boom’ to keep the floating oil from spreading.
Eni, the Italian Energy firm and parent company of the NAOC, had said that it was investigating the cause of the oil discharge as the National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) had reported the spill to the company.
The oil workers, sited at Odioama, were operating with three boats for the clean up operation.
While one of the boats contained a large plastic container for recovering crude from the water surface, another boat conveyed personnel while the third carried materials.
Residents of the affected fishing settlements complained that NAOC officials had not contacted them to know the extent of damage the spill had caused to their fishing activities.
The Chairman of Bayelsa Chapter of the Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, Mrs Elizabeth Egbe, told NAN that the oil leak had compelled 3,000 fishermen to suspend fishing.
Also speaking, the President of the Ewoama Community in Brass Local Government Area, Mr Ebipre Omubo, expressed regret over the alleged insensitive posture of the firm to the plight of the fishing communities.
“Our community is seriously impacted by the oil spill from Agip’s platform on the sea, thus disrupting our fishing activities.
“This is why we are calling on Agip to come to the aid of the community with relief materials and compensation.
“As far as this spill is concerned, the attitude of Agip toward the impacted communities remains unacceptable.
“I am aware that the fishermen at Mbikiri in Twon-Brass, Okpoama, Odioama and Dieama are seriously affected too,” Omubo said.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for NAOC, Mr Tajudeen Adigun, could not be reached for comments on the development as several calls and text messages put to his mobile phone, for an official response, were also not answered.