Saturday, February 27, 2010 (Front Page)
THE committee set up to investigate the recent fire outbreak at the loading gantry of the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has estimated the damage caused at $2.5 million, while products lost are valued at GH¢120,000.
Five road tankers were totally burnt, while two were severely damaged.
The committee has recommended that a fuel tanker driver and his mate should be held fully accountable.
According to it, the tanker driver restarted his ignition several times after loading premix fuel and that resulted in the fire outbreak which killed two persons and injured six others on January 19, 2010.
The six-member committee, chaired by Mr E. Quartey, a former General Manager of the Health, Safety and Environment Division of TOR, which presented its 24-page report to Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, a Deputy Minister of Energy in charge of Petroleum, also recommended that the management of TOR must improve its safety mechanisms.
Other members of the committee who were also present at the brief ceremony were Dr Yaw Akoto, the Managing Director of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company Limited; Mr J. W. Mensah, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer; Nii Lantey Blankson, an official from the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI); Lt Col Diamond Akplor, a retired Army officer, and Ms Daphne Akonor, a lawyer with the Attorney-General’s Department.
The committee further recommended the adoption of a better leadership style at the refinery and pointed out the need for better supervision from the appropriate authorities, such as the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).
It also recommended, among others, that regulations for safety must be enforced, complied with and monitored to avoid such fires in future.
Mr Quartey expressed the hope that the government would implement the recommendations to avoid fires in future, especially at a time when the country had discovered oil in commercial quantities.
He said the committee received much co-operation from the staff of the refinery, the NPA, tanker drivers and other stakeholders.
For his part, Mr Buah thanked the committee for doing thorough work and gave the assurance that the government would take into serious consideration its recommendations.
He described TOR as a very strategic national asset and said it was critical that such national assets were guided with jealous care to avoid future fires.
He expressed regret that lives were lost during the fire and gave the assurance that the government would ensure that persons who were responsible were held accountable.
The committee, which was inaugurated on January 21, 2010, two days after the fire, was tasked to investigate the cause(s) of the fire outbreak, ascertain the extent of damage and evaluate the appropriate existing safety and security measures at TOR.
The committee, which began work on January 25, 2010, was also expected to recommend measures necessary to address the lapses in safety and security at TOR, as well as identify any safety and security issues which, in its opinion, were relevant to the cause of the investigation and make appropriate recommendations.