A barge laden with crude oil caught fire in the coastal area of Agge in Ekeremor council area of Bayelsa State, on Monday.
The incident occurred on the Ramos River and was allegedly caused by a spark from a generator used in pumping the crude oil to a awaiting vessel.
The barge, owned by Sterling Oil Global, was being used in transferring crude oil to a vessel when the disaster struck.
Although no life was lost, the incident triggered panic among residents of the surrounding communities, given the large quantity of carbon allegedly emitted into the air.
An indigene of the area, who simply gave his name as Goodnews, said: “As I am speaking with you, the fire is still raging, sending thick smoke into the air.”
Spokesperson for the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Lt.-Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed the incident, adding that no life was lost.
“Around 6pm, a barge belonging to Sterling Oil Global, used in trans-loading crude oil at Agge, caught fire; the fire was put under control and no human casualty was recorded,” he said.
Nwachukwu said that the vessel was safely anchored at the shoreline to forestall escalation of the fire to other oil facilities.