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Crew members, others feared dead in Lagos ship explosion

Posted by By Alex Olise, Seye Olumide and Ozoriuwa Aliu on 2006/06/21 | Views: 389 |

Crew members, others feared dead in Lagos ship explosion


IT was a tragic afternoon for maritime business yesterday when an oil vessel exploded at the Berger Depot in Apapa, Lagos.

IT was a tragic afternoon for maritime business yesterday when an oil vessel exploded at the Berger Depot in Apapa, Lagos.

Last night, casualty from the incident was a yet-to-be-known number of deaths and wounded victims.

The fire outbreak was said to have occurred at about 2.00 p.m. from the engine room of the ship, M.T. Tuma, and spread rapidly to the cabin and other parts.

One of the crew members who escaped the explosion told The Guardian that the ship came from Cotonou, Benin Republic, about four days ago and there was a serious problem in the engine room.

He said: "Since then, the chief engineer on board instructed that the engine must not be on because there was a mixture of petrol and diesel oil inside the engine room such that it was difficult for anybody to stay inside.

"But unfortunately, while the chief engineer and the captain left the ship, somebody unknowingly switched on the engine and it exploded," he said.

The crew member added: "The condition of those in the engine room could not be ascertained but I believe they must have died. Some of the crew members in the cabin were badly injured by the explosion and had since been rushed to hospital."

Julius Berger and ASCON Fire Service were the first to arrive at the scene to put out the fire before the men of the Federal Fire Service and Lagos State Fire Service joined them.

In a bid to avoid further disaster, the ship was later pulled away into the sea from the oil tanks of the ports.

Persons believed to be relatives of those in the ship, who could not hear from them since the explosion occurred were crying, calling their cell phone numbers intermittently.

Another crew member, who escaped the explosion, told The Guardian that three of his friends were inside the engine room when the explosion occurred and that he had not heard from them after.

A lady, Olivia Uzoh, was also wailing at the scene asking after his brother, who she identified as Friday.

Following the mysterious explosion, the authorities of the Western Naval Command promptly deployed their men to the scene.

The spokesperson of the command, Lieutenant Commander Ayo Vaughan, said officers were on ground to curtail the situation.

According to him, it is too early to ascertain the cause and number of victims involved in the explosion.

Also, the Lagos State Police Command has deployed a team of policemen to beef-up security at the port.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Emmanuel Adebayo, yesterday directed the Apapa Police Division to tighten security at the scene with a view to checking hoodlums who might use the opportunity to siphon oil or cause other havoc within the port.

The Navy, policemen and Red Cross officials from the Lagos State government were at the scene attempting to rescue the victims.

The incident occurred barely a month after 200 persons lost their lives in a pipeline explosion at Ilado Village, in Apapa.

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

The name ULIMASI is from the UTUGWANG tribe in OBUDU local government area of CROSS RIVER STATE in Nigeria.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)