Erudite Master Mariner and Chairman of Integrated Oil and Gas Limited, Captain Emmanuel Ihenacho, has joined issues with those calling for the relocation of tank farms from the port city of Apapa, Lagos.
The former Interior Minister posited that heeding the calls for relocating the tank farms, which gained impetus recently, would simply translate to relocating a problem from a part of Lagos to another part of the state.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY recalls that a number of persons were injured recently when a barge bearing petrol caught fire and exploded at the MRS Oil and Gas depot at the Tin-Can Island Port Complex (TCIPC), Apapa, Lagos.
The company stated that it is yet to ascertain the cause of the inferno.
And speaking when he visited the scene of the incident, Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola had urged the Federal Government to relocate the tank farms from the neighbourhood, 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,” Fashola said.
He added: “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.”
However, reacting to the calls for the relocation of the tank farms, Ihenacho averred that, rather than relocate the tank farms, the regulatory agencies should compel tank farm operators to invest heavily in safety in order to check incidents.
Ihenacho said that relocating the tank farms would not curb fire or other incidents, stressing that only strict adherence to safety measures would prevent mishaps.
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.
He noted that several tank farms had been operating around the headquarters of th Western Naval Command (WNC), Nigerian Navy (NN) in Apapa for about 50 years without any incident, because, according to him, the operators of the tank farms run these facilities in conformity with requisite 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.
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