Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho
Former Minister of Interior and Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho has faulted the calls for the relocation of tank farms from Tin Can Island area of Lagos State, saying such action could only amount to relocating a problem from one part of the state to another part of the state.
Reacting to recent calls for the relocation of the tank farms, following the barge fire incident in one of the facilities, Ihenacho told THISDAY that rather than relocate the tank farms, the regulatory agencies should compel tank farm operators to invest heavily in safety to avoid incidents.
He stated that relocation of the tank farms would not curb fire or other accidents, stressing that only strict conformity with safety measures would prevent incidents.
According to him, the mere relocation of the tank farms without the right investment in safety would only mean relocating a problem from one part of the state to another.
Ihenacho stated that incidents would only be avoided if the operators invest heavily in training and safety.
He noted that several tank farms had been operating around the headquarters of Western Naval Command in Apapa for about 50 years without any incident because the operators of the tank farms conform to adequate safety measures.
“They have been there for more than 50 years and have observed safety procedures. Their age notwithstanding, so long as they observe safety procedures, there will be no incident. Relocating them is just relocating a problem to another part of the state,” he said.
He urged the regulatory agencies to ensure that the right investment was made in the areas of training and safety.
No fewer than six persons were injured recently when a petrol barge that belongs to MRS Oil and Gas cut fire and exploded at the company’s main depot in Tin Can Island Area of Lagos.
The barge, with registration number ST 215 was the biggest of all the barges the company used to store petroleum products when a big vessel discharged products into the terminal.
The company has however stated that it was yet to ascertain the cause of the fire incident and explosion.
Speaking when he visited the facility, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, had urged the Federal Government to relocate tank farms from Tin Can Island, saying the incident was a wake-up call for the government.
“The nation presently does not have the wherewithal to contain any sort of fire incident involving oil installation facilities. I don’t think we should wait, this is enough,” he said.
“I think that agencies of the Federal Government must step up their safety compliance levels, everybody must do his job and that is short term. The long term is to relocate all these facilities away from residential areas. Lagos state is ready to provide these facilities,” he added.