Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
TENSION is gradually building up as five Nigerian oil workers and a Briton are feared dead after a Seplat Energy rig has caved in in Delta, Nigeria.
Besides, five others are reportedly missing in the fatal accident involving the firm’s Majestic rig at Ogboren near Ovhor Oilfield, in Sapele Local Government of the state.
Stonix News gathered that the Majestic rig was a new buy being operated by SEPLAT/NNPCL Joint Venture.
Report gleaned from a local news website, Advocate.ng late Tuesday night, revealed that the fatal accident occurred earlier on Tuesday morning but was kept in the wraps.
It was gathered that about 96 crew members were onboard the rig which reportedly went down during the accident.
Six bodies, including that of the Briton, were said to have been recovered.
The company’s management is said to be working round the clock to locate and recover other missing crew members.
A source close to the oil coy management told the medium that “as soon as we got the news of the incident, the company activated search and rescues mechanisms, and the efforts yielded great results.
“As we speak, most of the rescued workers are safe and getting medical attention, but sadly, we lost six staff, a Briton included with about six other workers still missing as of 8:00p.m today, Tuesday,” he stated.
Debunking the claim of the number of fatality, the management of Seplat Energy Plc, in a press statement signed by Seplat Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown, confirmed that one person died in the accident while three others are still missing.
He claimed that out of the 96 crew members truly onboard the ill-fated rig, 92 of them are safe.
The Seplat’s statement read thus: “Seplat Energy regrets to announce a serious incident on the Depthwise swamp drilling rig “Majestic” in the early hours of this morning. Seplat as the operator of the SEPLAT/NNPCL joint venture contracted the rig. It was in-transit to its planned drilling location at Ovhor in Delta State when it capsized.
“92 of the 96-member crew are accounted for and safe. However, tragically one fatality occurred during the incident, while three other rig personnel are still missing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the crew member who sadly lost his life and the three crew members who are still missing at the time of this report. Our emergency response and rescue efforts working alongside the rig owner and the authorities have been activated and are onsite.
“Our utmost priority will continue to be the safety and wellbeing of all the affected personnel and their families.
“We will provide further details as our understanding of the incident develops. A detailed investigation into the cause of the accident will follow.”
Recall that Seplat Energy has a 45 per cent working interest in OMLs 4, 38 and 41 which are located in Edo (OML 4) and Delta (OMLs 38 and 41) states onshore of Nigeria.
Seplat Energy is operator of the three blocks, which together form one contract area, on behalf of the NPDC/Seplat Joint Venture.