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30 Killed In Oil Vessel Explosion •As JTF Destroys 3 Tankers In Rivers
The incidences included an early fire which ravaged the administrative offices of the Rivers State Newspapers Corporation, publishers of the Tide Newspapers and the destruction of five tankers, allegedly carrying adulterated products at Eneka area of the city, while an explosion on an ocean liner, going through repairs at the PW Jetty in Abuloma claimed all the 30 casualties.
At the Abuloma scene of the incident, Saturday Tribune gathered that the fire, started at about 9.00 a.m. as a result of a welding going on, causing a big explosion that shook the whole Abuloma.
Although no accurate or official figure could be given on casualties, sources around the jetty gave figures ranging between 11 persons and 30 persons as likely death toll.
According to an eyewitness, the explosion occurred so early that several people, who were still in their cabins, were trapped in and were all suspected to have died in the fire.
“The vessel came here for repairs, I don’t know its name nor that of its owner. From what I heard, the fire started from a welding and I heard that all those who were in the three decks of the vessel were stranded there, apparently they are all dead now. There should be about 30 of them in there.
“But the captain of the vessel and his deckhand escaped as they were thrown off the vessel by the magnitude of the blast and I also heard that it is carrying crude, that is why the fire ignited,” the eyewitness, who did not want his name mentioned, said.
Other sources put the number of casualty at 11, while 5 other persons were said to have been rescued injured.
But giving an official detail of the incident, Rivers State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Dr. Kayode Olagunju, said there was no figure of casualty yet
“An oil vessel around 9.45 hrs caught fire and exploded at the Abuloma Waterfront in Port Harcourt. Fire still restricted to water area. FRSC, NEMA, Police, Fire Service and other rescue agencies on the ground. Casualty figures not yet known. We shall keep you posted,” Olagunju said.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield, Friday, continued its war against illegal oil business when it destroyed five takers carrying adulterated fuel in the Eneka area of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Confirming the operation, spokesman of the Army in Port Harcourt, Captain Sunny Samuel, said it was the JTF’s operation and that six persons were arrested during the exercise, which he said most residents of the area mistook for another tankers fire incident.Share
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