Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
28 oil workers were trapped in residential building around an oil platform in Koluama 1, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, over the weekend, following a fire incident at a nearby oil rig.
The rig is located within Nigerian territorial waters in the Atlantic Ocean off Koluama community.
Investigations revealed that while rescue efforts has been able to save the 100 workers working at the oil rig where the fire started, rescue workers comprising of troops Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe(ODS) and youths of Koluama are battling to rescue the trapped 28 workers in residential building.
According to sources the fire started at the oil rig owned by Depthwize Nigeria, an oil services firm working at the oil field operated by Conoil Nigeria Limited.
The fire, which was confirmed by the Joint Military Task Force in the Niger Delta, ODC, started around 5:00a.m., on Saturday, and had blown up the oil platform and razed down residential area of oil workers.
Spokesman for the OPDS, Maj. Abdullahi Ibrahim, who confirmed the incident, said that all personnel on board the rig were successfully evacuated.
He said that the fire was already under control due to the efforts of fire-fighters, adding that no life was lost.
Sources in Koluama said the company on hearing about the incident flew fire fighters into the community from Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital and they were assisted by indigenes of Koluama 1 and other fishing communities in the area to rescue the 100 workers at the rig from immediate danger.
It was gathered that the rescued workers have been flown to Port Harcourt, while the others are still trapped in their residence with fire fighters and locals battling to put off the fire and save the helipad.
An eye-witness account who was part of the indigenes assisting in the rescue and evacuation operation explained that the razed oil platform was a mini one built to replace the trunkline razed in 2017 during the Auntie Julie trunkline.
“We gathered that the fire blew up the newly constructed trunkline and affected the platform when it was being tested on Saturday. Immediately it was switched on, it blew up the line and entered the platform and caught fire”