Environmental crimes like polluting and toxifying the air and water must be treated as seriously as any other crime where people are harmed as a direct result
The explosion of the Trinity Spirit Oil vessel, owned by Shebah Exploration & Production Co and managed by Sepcol has caused the death of at least three crew members. Greenpeace Africa offers its condolences to their families, and calls on African leaders to stop supporting the production of fossil fuel poison under the false pretext of development.
Recent days have been dark for families in Nigeria brutally separated from their relatives after the explosion of the Trinity Spirit in the Delta State, Southern Nigeria. According to Reuters, “the consortium running the oilfield, including SEPCOL, lost its production license in 2019.” The same source indicates that there had been some trading companies who used to store oil on the vessel, then stopped because of “too many technical issues,” and because the vessel was “old and badly maintained.”
The explosion of the vessel is characteristic of the unscrupulous habits of the fossil fuel industry: the vessel has outlived its lifespan by 20 years and should have been decommissioned a long time ago. “The negligence of Shebah Exploration and Production shows that, like most climate criminals, they care more about their profits than the safety of the environment and the people who depend on it.”, says Dr. Aliou Ba, Oceans Campaign Manager at Greenpeace Africa. “The Nigerian government must urgently take up its responsibilities to avoid these types of threats in the future in order to preserve the environment and the well-being of the people. The latter have suffered too much from the fossil fuel industry.”
“Fossil fuels are poison. They continue to devastate Africa’s people. It is high time we stopped producing them,” added Dr. Aliou Ba. And in this case, the company is a double criminal, killing its crew members on the one hand, and damaging precious ecosystems on the other. “The harm of burning, storing, and transporting fossil fuels is simply too great. Shebah Exploration and Production needs to be held accountable for the devastation that this explosion has caused for nearby communities. Environmental crimes like polluting and toxifying the air and water must be treated as seriously as any other crime where people are harmed as a direct result. Damaging other’s lives for the sake of money is unjust and too egotistical for African countries to keep supporting it,” continues Dr. Aliou Ba.
Africa has the potential to become a global powerhouse in renewable energy production. It would therefore be inconsistent for a continent that is unfortunately the most vulnerable to climate change to deprive itself of such a niche. In fact, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Africa’s renewable energy capacity could reach 310 GW by 2030, making the continent the world’s largest producer of renewable energy.
“For centuries, African economies have been locked in a development model which sees their resources depleted to the benefit of developed economies, bypassing the needs and aspirations of Africa’s people. It is about time Africa’s major economies like Nigeria begin to set the example of an alternative economic model that puts their people and the environment they depend on at the centre,” concluded Dr Aliou Ba.