Monrovia, Liberia – Preliminary findings from the Environmental Agency’s investigation of the Vai Town oil spillage may have laid the blame on the management of Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC).
Initial statement from LPRC Managing Director Marie Urey Coleman claimed that about three thousand gallons spilled over during loading from a product vessel to the Petroleum Storage Terminal on the Bushrod Island.
Madam Coleman had said there was no immediate damage to the company’s facilities but will wait for a full-scale joint investigation headed by the EPA before further details.
An EPA statement said its investigators have found that the loading process was conducted at night with poor visibility and manual system.
The EPA said it also established that the valve which closes the tank was opened, thereby allowing oil to flow from the tank into the river.
“Authorities of the EPA established that on Sunday July 19, 2020 the management of LPRC carried -out normal operation of transferring petroleum products from a vessel to storage tank 402. While in the process, tank 402 begun to overflow with diesel. The operation was conducted at night with poor visibility and manual system. It was also established that the valve which closes the tank was opened, thereby allowing oil to flow from the tank into the river. The situation resulted into massive water pollution spanning from LPRC facility to Vamuco in Vai Town and beyond” the statement added.
The EPA is now leading a full scale assessment considering all parameters of concern and it is working along with the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA) and LPRC management.
“We are scaling up efforts to get the findings ready as soon as possible,” EPA Acting Executive Director Randall Dobayou said in a statement released Monday evening.
He disclosed that an environmental and social impact assessment is being done to determine the remediation and restoration action to be taken in favor of the environment.
Mr. Dobayou disclosed that the Ministry of Information will officially communicate findings from the investigation since it is a joint assessment involving three government agencies.