Shell distances self from alleged death of fishes in Niger Delta waters

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has denied claims that the dead fishes floating and littering the Niger Delta coastline were caused by alleged discharge of toxic chemicals from its facility.

DAILY POST had earlier reported that residents along the Atlantic coastline in Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom raised the alarm over the massive death of croaker fish specie since February, raising concerns of increased toxicity of the territorial waters.

An Environmentalist, Mr. Furoebi Akene, had earlier alleged that the dead fishes littering Niger Delta coastline were caused by the discharge of toxic chemicals from Shell’s operations at Ogulagha in Delta.

Meanwhile, SPDC in a response to the allegations said that there was no discharge of toxic chemicals from its operations at the Focados crude export terminal off Delta.

In a statement signed and sent to DAILY POST by the Media Relations Manager of SPDC, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, stated that there was no oil leakage from its activities linked to the dead fishes.

The statement reads “The SPDC hereby clarifies that there is no release of dangerous toxic or chemical substances from its operations at the Forcados Oil Terminal, or from its facilities in Ogulagha or any part of the Niger Delta where the company operates.

“Relevant government agencies are already investigating the alleged causes of death incident along the coastline in the Niger Delta and SPDC is supporting the investigations.

Odugbesan also disclosed that Shell was supporting the Delta State governments in investigating the cause of the massive death of fishes as well as participating in an ongoing joint investigation by oil industry regulators.

“The Nigeria Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) was widely reported to have clearly stated that there is no evidence that oil and gas operations may have impacted the aquatic environment as being claimed in respect of the fish kill incident.

“On our part, we are working with the relevant government agencies and the Delta State Ministry of Environment in the investigation of the allegation.

“We have conducted a joint investigation visit to the coastline, samples have been collected and testing is ongoing in accredited laboratories,” Odugbesan stated.

Mr Idris Musa, Director-General of NOSDRA, said that the agency found no connection with oil spills to the dead fishes and was looking at other probable causes.

Musa said that NOSDRA was coordinating a multi-agency investigation aimed at unraveling the cause of the massive death of fishes within the nation’s territorial waters and was looking beyond oil spill.

He said other regulatory agencies with mandates of safety in the maritime space, were deploying their expertise in the ongoing investigation, assuring that the process was being carried out with best practices.

“The death of fishes in large numbers made it expedient to look beyond oil spillage as the likely cause, as we found no trace of oil leakage to link with the dead fishes.

“The agency proceeded to collect samples of water, sediments and some of the dead fish for laboratory testing.

“In doing so, the agency brought onboard other relevant agencies of government that have mandate on our territorial waters.

“In particular, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Instutue of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Federal Institute of Fisheries Research and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA).

”This is for an all hands must be on deck in assessment of the possible cause or causes of death of the fishes in such large numbers,” Musa said.

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