GPS Coordinates:Elev: 13m, N05°09.193.’, E006°27.187’ [spill point], Elev: 1m, N 05°09.159’ E006°27.147’ [Where boom was seen spread across towards the end of the impacted swamp]
Date of Visit: 04 and 10th June, 2013

Ikarama is anIjaw-speaking community along the Taylor Creek in Okordiaclan,Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Fishing, farming, hunting and weaving are some of the traditional means of livelihood of the people. Oil facilities in the community include wellheads, manifold and pipelines belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company [NAOC] and Shell Petroleum Development Company [SPDC]. Oil spills have become regular occurrence in the community environment, sometimes very close to living homes. Apart from the crude oil spreading to cover farms/farmlands, ponds, lakes and even the Taylor Creek; spill sites are often set ablaze, sending thick column of smoke into the atmosphere and further impacting the people and their environment.

On the 4th of June, 2013 information reached ERA/FoEN that the people woke up to observe fresh oil spill along Shell’s Okordia/Rumuekpe Trunk line. Within few hours after receiving the information; ERA/FoEN field monitors mobilized to the spill site to document impacts.

It was observed that oil spill had occurred at the current spill point previously; and the impacted site set ablaze not too long ago. Another visit to the site was made by ERA/FoEN field monitors on the 10th of June, 2013.

One of the Text messages received in connection with the current spill on Tuesday, 4th June, 2013 read thus: …A spill has occurred in the swamp around my house. Crude oil has spread and, see what people have done to my kids’’The person who sent the text message lives with his family in a hut now surrounded by the crude oil; with his family, two of whom are twins less than four months old.
A similar spill which impacted the same swamp in 2011 was set on fire and his house almost burnt. He lost some of his belongings, money and his children suffered serious health complications. And, by saying ‘see what people have done to my kids’’ he his expressing concern of the impact of the spill on his children, especially the new born twins.

Mrs. Patience Roland…
The first sign of the spill was when we perceived the smell of fresh crude oil in the air. That was around 4:00am-5:00am on Tuesday, 4th June, 2013. And, because of past experiences and strong current of the smell, we [with her husband] tried to trace and we later discovered that the spill had just occurred along the pipeline near us. Crude was just oozing out from the ground and flowing into the swamp around.

As you can see now, the crude oil has spread all over the swamp. We that are living so close will suffer the consequence again; you are aware how my children fell sick last time. Even now they have not fully recovered. My twins are just about three months of age and, you can imagine the risk of living within this immediate environment highly impacted by crude oil again. We pray that this time around they don’t set fire on the impacted site and that Shell will mop up the crude oil as soon as possible.

Washington Odoyibo, Public Relations Officer [P.R.O] of Ikarama Community Development Committee…
I was annoyed after I got to the spill site and saw that some persons must have tampered with the oil pipeline. It was very obvious; some newly dug mud was around the spot that was spewing crude oil. My anger stems from the fact that our community will not benefit any positive outcome from such spills occasioned by third party activity. Again, our environment has suffered severely from the negative impacts of countless spills we have experienced. I was in Yenagoa when I heard of the spill on 4th June, 2013 and, I visited the site within hours of that information. It is very unfortunate. The swamp that the crude oil flowed into is in my family land and, this is about the 3rd or 4th time that swamp is being impacted; wasted.

We used to fish in that swamp from time to time. But these oil spills would not allow us to use it anymore. I just hope Shell will mobilize to site and contain the situation. But again, Shell should be held accountable for negligence because SPDC was informed on the 4th about this incident but the company delayed action until Friday, 7th June, 2013. They came to clamp it on Friday but they couldn’t conclude and they only succeeded in doing so on Saturday, 8th June, 2013. Now, due to the fact that Shell failed to act promptly, the crude oil has spread all over the swamp. May be that is what Shell wants; those who sponsored the spill. Coming to spread boom in the swamp after the crude has covered everywhere is hypocritical of Shell. As per the cause of spill, the JIV indicated sabotage. Like I said before, I do not have quarrels with the cause because it was obvious; my concern is Shell’s response to the spill…

The issue of security of oil facilities, negligence and responsibility should be viewed critically in oil spill incidents, especially in cases of this nature. ERA/FoEN field monitors observed that the current spill happened within the community; not in the bush or other isolated environment and just about one hundred meters away from Shell’s Okordia manifold. The fears expressed by Mr. and Mrs. FreebornRolandin terms of the impacts on their family is understood; as they are actually surrounded by the crude oil spewed into the environment.

The last time they were impacted by spill/fire and their children fell sick, an NGO, Agape birthrights assisted the family by taking the children to hospital to seek medical attention and assisting them financially too. Although this family is closest to the affected swamp, other families also live in close proximity to the impacted swamp. Apart from the swamp, the gutter around the environment is flooded with crude oil and flowing across to another swampy environment. This is also aided by the heavy rains.
When ERA/FoEN field monitors visited the spill site on 4th June, 2013 crude oil was noticed spewing into the environment. However, the second visit on 10th June, 2013 showed that the spill point had been clamped and, the whole swamp; of a size more than a standard football fieldin the immediate environment had been covered by thick volume of crude oil. The colour of the crude oil had turned black during the second visit.

A long boom was lined across the swamp almost at the far end of the swamp [away from the spill point]. This is also another proof that the spill has taken over the entire swamp; hence the boom was not only useless but not applied at the right time. Otherwise, the boom would have been positioned close to the spill point. An estimated volume of some hundreds of barrels of crude oil must have been spewed into this environment. This could be attributed to the fact that Shell was not prompt in reacting to the information received about the spill. This is where Shell fell short again, in their so-called Corporate Social Responsibility.

1.    Shell mobilizes to site immediately to mop up, clean up and remediate the impacted environment.
2.    The relevant agencies of government step in to ensure that the impacted environment is properly mopped up and cleaned.
3.    Shell look inwards to identify staff/contractors that sponsor sabotage and bring an end to the series of spills in Ikarama and environs.
4.    Community folks resist the temptation to engage in acts of sabotage and save themselves and their environment pollution.

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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).

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