1st March, 2011
A supply vessel from Nigeria, Spirit River, has been impounded in Takoradi for allegedly dumping toxic oil base mud (OBM) at Essipon, a community near a landfill site in the Sekondi/Takoradi metropolis, according to Daily Graphic.
The vessel is currently berthed at the Home Port of the Western Naval Command and the captain has been asked not to move until further notice.
Apart from the waste, the vessel also discharged a large volume of highly toxic liquid slops in tote tanks into the drain that runs down the hill to the Essipon community.
The waste was transported from the Benniboye Oil Fields in Nigeria for disposal. Industry players say it is a serious offence under Marpol Convention to dump such toxic waste from one country in another without permission.
The vessel was said to be in transit to Trinidad Tobago and that it passed through Ghana to discharge waste.
It is alleged that the shipping agent, Panalpina, and the owners of the vessel did not want to pay the cost of disposing of the waste and, therefore, employed crude means to pass on the waste to Ghana in such a dangerous manner which could have a serious effect on the lives of the people.
The people contracted to carry out that task, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), did not use any protective clothing, as well as monitoring mechanism, as required, before undertaking the project.
The contractor, according to sources, allegedly went behind a waste management company in the metropolis which is permitted to handle oil base waste from oil operations, to carry out the cleaning and dumping of the waste in the country.
Daily Graphic checks from the various oil rigs offshore and the Jubilee partners indicated that the Spirit River did not work for any of the rigs offshore Ghana, that aside, its last port of call was in Nigeria.
Mr. George Deawuo of the EPA told the Daily Graphic that there were processes to follow in disposing waste and questioned why toxic mud from Nigeria would be transported into the country.