NIMASA says the rig hired by Seplat operated illegally

The Nigerian Maritime and Safety Administration (NIMASA) has said that the Majestic rig that collapsed while in use by Seplat in Delta state on Tuesday, August 15, operated without NIMASA approvals.

The agency stated this in an August 16 statement sent to the press. The agency wrote:

  • “Initial findings confirmed that the ill-fated rig is Panama-flagged and has been operating on Nigerian waters since 2016 without requisite approvals from the Agency.
  • “The ABS Classed inland Water Drilling 232 feet-long Barge, with a rated drilling depth of 30,000 feet collapsed where it was been towed from N04, 30:34 / E00543:57 enroute Ovhor 21 that belongs to Seplat Oil field in Delta State.
  • “NIMASA has initiated contact with the Clean Nigerian Associate, a conglomerate of all International Oil Companies (IOCs) responsible for the cleaning of Tier 2 oil spill, to establish the level of spillage at the scene of the incident.
  • “In addition, the Agency is in communication with officials of Seplat Energy Limited, chatterers of the ill-fated rig, who are expected to officially report the incidence within 24 hours in line with the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act 2007.”

According to NIMASA, it has sent search, rescue and investigation teams to the site of the rig collapse. Note that one of the agency’s duties is to ensure safe shipping and cleaner oceans.

The Backstory

On Tuesday evening, Seplat announced one death and three missing persons, following the collapse of the oil rig which it rented from Depthwize, a local drilling company.

In its August 15 statement, Seplat said it would investigate the collapse. A part of the statement read:

  • Seplat Energy regrets to announce a serious incident on the Depthwize swamp drilling rig “Majestic” in the early hours of this morning. Seplat as the operator of the SEPLAT/NNPCL joint venture contracted the rig. It was in transit to its planned drilling location at Ovhor in Delta State when it capsized.
  • “92 of the 96-member crew are accounted for and safe. However, tragically one fatality occurred during the incident, while three other rig personnel are still missing.
  • Our emergency response and rescue efforts working alongside the rig owner and the authorities have been activated and are onsite. Our utmost priority will continue to be the safety and well-being of all the affected personnel and their families.
  • “We will provide further details as our understanding of the incident develops. A detailed investigation into the cause of the accident will follow.”

What you should know: Seplat told NewsTimes on Wednesday, August 16, that it would release a detailed statement as a follow-up to the first statement. NewsTimes still awaits the statement.

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