Daily Independent (Nigeria): Shell shuts Bonny flow station: “Three more bodies were on Wednesday recovered from the site of an exploded oil pipeline in Port Harcourt, bringing the number of casualties to 11 in the fire incident ravaging up to 21 villages. The pipeline belongs to Shell”: Thursday 22 December 2005
By Odudu Okpongete,
Uwakwe Abugu (Benin) and
Emmanuel Ukudolo (Lagos)
Three more bodies were on Wednesday recovered from the site of an exploded oil pipeline in Port Harcourt, bringing the number of casualties to 11 in the fire incident ravaging up to 21 villages. The pipeline belongs to Shell
Gabriel Ogbologwung, an aide to the chairman of Andoni Council, Rivers State, confirmed in a telephone interview that two of the three newly recovered corpses were burnt beyond recognition.
The recovery came just as Shell announced the shutting down of its Bonny Flow station.
The explosion occurred on its pipeline at Opobo Channel, 50 kilometres south west of Port Harcourt on Monday.
The company had earlier shut production in Diebu Creek and Nun River fields as well as all land area facilities except Rumuekpe.
The attack on the Shell installation at Agba-Okwan Asarama community on Monday, which ravaged 21 villages, is believed to have been launched by militia fighters loyal to the Leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, Tom Ateke.
Eyewitness said they came about 9 p.m. with four speed boats and caused an explosion on a pipeline which led to the razing down of hundreds of homes.
The inhabitants fled to neighbouring villages for refuge. Several persons are missing.
The sources recounted that the heavily armed militiamen, after setting the installation on fire, headed to Bonny to carry out a similar attack on a facility around Peterside Town.
A statement signed by Shell Corporate External Affairs Manager, Don Boham, said the shut flow station was suspected to feed the affected pipelines, making it impossible to quench the inferno.
As a result, the deferred volume of oil barrel per day stands at 180,000.
Boham said the Joint Investigation Team, the Clean Nigeria Associate and the Pipeline repair group were at the site on Wednesday.
In a related development, there was pandemonium in the Ihor area of Benin City on Tuesday when a pipeline erupted in flames as vandals went to work.
The fire consumed the truck which they were using to convey fuel from the scene.
Police sources confirmed the report and said the divisional police officer (DPO) in the area has a sent a signal to the commissioner of police.
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