GPS Coordinates: Elev:3m, N 04°21.350’, E 005°46.607’ [about 100 meters away from the flames]
Date of visit: January 24, 2012

ERA/FoEN monitors had to repeat the visit to Chevron’s gas wellhead site in Apoi North that has been on fire since January 16, 2012. The visit was intended to ascertain if Chevron had taken any step to halt the inferno, as well as the effects of the pollutant in on the water which had earlier killed fish in the waters. This second visit was worth the while and efforts.
Our field monitor learnt that the failure of government to compel prompt actions has started generating bad blood among the youth.


After entering the Atlantic Ocean from the River by Fish-Town through threatening waves, the visiting team noticed a slight change in the colour of the water. It now looked muddy. At the boundary between the muddy water and the natural sky blue Ocean water, floating dead fish of various sizes came to view. The speedboat driver was asked to stop to enable the visiting team get good view of the scenario and take photos/videos. Also seen were some fish struggling for survival; in throes of death. One was caught struggling and put inside the speedboat for proper observation. Most of the other floating dead fish were noticed to be in various degrees of decomposition.

The team thereafter moved forward towards the burning site. From a distance it was observed that the fire was not as high as it was on January 18, 2012 when ERA/FoEN first visited the site. This time around, the fire was observed on top of the water, on a straight line of about 20-30 meters length. The rig was nowhere to be seen, including the gas wellhead that was under construction before the explosion. However, like a gas flare furnace, smoke was noticed rising into the air. After making enough observation and taking the GPS Coordinate from about 100 meters away from the fire, the visiting team decided to return home. More dead fish were noticed floating as the team made its way back to the shore.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS: Apart from the Funiwa 5 that was sighted flaring gas at a distance, other wellheads and platforms were observed not far from the burning gas wellhead site. A helicopter was sighted coming to highlight on one of the Platforms/Wellheads near the burning site and, took off shortly; as the ERA team was leaving. Some ships were notice far off too. A certain fisher man and his son were also returning to Fish-Town from the Ocean and ERA approached them to hear from them too. Though the name of the man was not taken, in responding to ERA/FoEN questions, he said: ‘’I guess you must have seen some dead fish floating as you went to the burning site. Since this explosion occurred on January 16, 2012 life has not been the same again for us, fishing folks. We are not killing fish as before and we are also afraid of the impact on our health. We are surprised that no government or company official has visited us since this incident happened. I say so because I remember when a major oil spill occurred here around 1980, not only did the then governor of old Rivers State, Chief Melford Okilo visit us, Nigeria’s president, Shehu Shagari also came here to see us. This time around, it is too bad. If you can, carry the message to the government and Chevron that our health and livelihoods are in danger. They should do something fast’’.
As ERA was concluding that interview, another set of visitors were seen entering into the Ocean, and heading to the burning site. They included Barry Peremongo, Africa Independent Television (AIT) General Manager [Yenagoa] and some community leaders of Koluama 1.

It was really surprising that no notable government official has visited since the above incident happened. More surprising was the testimony of the fisher man [above] that Alhaji Shehu Shegari and Melford Okilo visited when a spill occurred in 1980, when the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan who is from the Niger Delta, and the current governor, Timipre Sylva, both Niger Deltans do not see this as necessary. The community people, especially the youth also have that impression and ERA/FoEN monitor learnt they are angry. This accounted for the reason why ERA/FoEN did not enter the community

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ERA has recently received information that a group calling itself the "Niger Delta Coalition in the Diaspora" is still engaging itself in activities and communications giving the impression that it is linked with Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

This group issues out communications using ERA's headquarter address and mail box. We have never had any ties with this group and any views, comments or opinions expressed by them is not endorsed or authorized by any member of management or staff of ERA.

Green Hotlines
Green Hotlines
Is there a spill, pipeline rupture, fire, gas flare, water, land or air pollution in your community or one you know about? Do you need assistance to respond, and prevent future occurrences or have you noticed any activity that threatens the environment?

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