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 Oil Spillage at Mandinari
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11759 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2022 :  11:35:39  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


By Madiba Singhateh & Mustapha Jallow on June 10, 2022

Following widespread online reports of oil pollution on the country’s waters, three Foroyaa journalists Tuesday visited Mandinari—the oil spillage area—hired a boat and follow the stretch from Lamin lodge to around the vicinity of Mandinari to ascertain the reports.

Since the news of the oil spillage broke out on Saturday, May 28, 2022, scores of Gambians took to social media to express their worry about the environmental hazards it could cause—not ruling out the robbing of the fish consumed by many daily in the country.

Our reporters’ fact-finding mission revealed that the incident has already affected fishermen and the biodiversity (including oysters, crabs and mangroves) along the shores of Mandinari.

Local fishermen residing just few kilometres away from the fuel storage depot in Mandinari said their livelihoods have been ruined following the oil spill, as they lamented that the incident has hampered their source of living.

Sada Sarr, a 50-year-old local fisherman and native of Mandinari, narrated that the oil spillage has forced them to stop operation in the meantime.

“My boat, net and catches (fish) were all affected by the oil. I cannot even work with net not to talk of catching a fish,’’ he lamented.

According to him, the spill has really damaged their source income because all their nets were contaminated with a lot oil. He disclosed that most of his sea materials were also affected, including his clothes among others.

“My hands and other parts of my body were all having oil. If you see me that day, you will think that someone painted me. I later used petrol to clean it from my body,’’ said Sarr, who has spent 30-good years in fishing.

“We’ve lost our source of income and we do not know when this will end. How will we live now? That’s our frustration. We also want them to recognize the damage and that the spillage was caused by negligence.’’

Sarr called on the government to help them with new nets because their daily needs come from the water and they only rely on the sea for their livelihoods, together with their families. Since Saturday [28th May] —the day of the spillage—he said he has lost a lot of income and costumers, which has negatively impacted on them.

Modou Sarr, another fisherman, shared similar remarks.

Mama Sanyang, a woman crabber, told this medium that she saw the oil spillage on the ocean last week, saying the area was sticky and her boots and feet were soaked with the oil.

She further said after the spillage, she hardly catches anything as she heads home empty-handed.
Photo: Oil traces on the mangroves at the Mandinari shoreline. © Abdoulie Fatty

Spillage Cleaned, But Oil Traces Still Visible

Oil workers of Gam Petroleum—whose names are not mentioned for their protection—confirmed the incident and disclosed that the spill was caused by leakage as a result of a corroded pipe during their offloading.

The spillage area looked cleaned during our boat trip, but traces of the oil could be seen on the mangroves or at the shores opposite the depot and where local boats packed along the shoreline. Some boats and fishing nets were stained with oil.

Scores of crabs and other small sea spices were found lying dead around oil. But reporters could not establish whether the spices were killed by the oil spill or not.

When reporters accessed the depot at 2pm, an oil worker told Foroyaa that the oil spill has led to huge loses to The Gambia—estimating it to millions of dalasi.

The worker disclosed that a company (whose identity the worker could not say) was hired to assist them clean the oil in the sea, which the worker said was another loses to the country. According to the worker, water divers were involved to inspect the spillage.

“We cleaned a lot yesterday (6th June 2022). But some of the oils were washed away by the water, while some got stocked on the mangroves. But we were able to fill a container during our cleaning. It would be very difficult to clean up all the spill. As for now, we are waiting for another cleaning exercise,’’ another oil worker told our reporters.

Foroyaa was however informed that the cleaning is on hold.
Photo: Fish nets stained with oil traces at the Mandinari shoreline. © Abdoulie Fatty

Mandinari VDC Holds Talk Over the Spillage

Jammeh Ceesay, retired senior immigration officer and now chairman of Village Developmen Committee (VDC) of Mandinari, said he was out of the country when the oil spill occurred. As a VDC, he said they have held talks on the issue, while noting that they have also seen government is taking steps on the matter.

“We gathered reports, that stakeholders from different ministries visited the area. It shows that steps are been taken by the relevant authorities to resolve the problem. But our main concern is our sea, where the spill has occurred because we do not know the health implications,’’ he explained.

Ceesay pointed out that the spill could also affect the fish because the water does not have boundary and the oil spread all over the neibouring areas such Pirang and up to Banjul. He thus called for mitigation measures to be put in place at the said depot forthwith.

Ceesay said his community has since allocated the government a big plot of land so that they can build a fire station just for emergency purpose, especially issues like this nature.

“But guess what? The plot has been there for almost ten years now without any action. For example, when the depot blows up, how can people residing nearby escape the disaster? I therefore call on the government to develop the property for the safety of the villagers,’’ he said.

Ceesay further advised the government to issue a dispatch and inform the public, particularly the fishermen, to hold on with their fishing activities until they are done with their investigations. For him, this will serve as an advice to the people because it emanated from the relevant authorities.

Meanwhile, attempts were made to speak to the managing director of Gam Petroleum at the depot but to no avail. The security officials there told our reporters to book an appointment before seeing the manager.

Foroyaa will follow up with the relevant authorities to get their detailed account of the measures they are taking to remedy the situation.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.


11759 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2022 :  11:39:26  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

June 10, 2022
Foroyaa has confirmed the oil spill polluting the vicinity of Gam Petroleum in Mandinari. Foroyaa journalists have photographs of the pollution that has taken place in the vicinity. A desperate attempt to clean up is not sufficient enough to address the problem. The mangrove swamps in the area are being polluted and marine life is under threat. Oysters, crabs and other crustaceans breeding in the area could face existential threat.

No press release from the national environment agency has been received officially by Foroyaa. The Ministry of Petroleum is also not heard on the matter.

The Ministry of Fisheries is also concerned because fisheries depend on the laying of eggs in such environment to increase our fish stock. The incident needs transparency and those responsible for the spill should be known and the cost of cleansing the environment should be borne by those responsible for the spill.

It is therefore important that impunity is not entertained by honouring the incident with silence. Foroyaa has given the authorities enough evidence and time to conduct investigation and come up with full disclosure of what happened. We will now proceed to contact Gam Petroleum, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, the Ministry of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters and National Environment Agency and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority to get full disclosure of what happened.

Silence is not an option and continuous silence would be deemed as cover up which is inimical to good governance. Good governance requires transparency and accountability in all matters of public concern and public interest.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.

Edited by - toubab1020 on 11 Jun 2022 11:40:27
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11759 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2022 :  11:47:34  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote



By Madiba Singhateh & Mustapha Jallow on June 10, 2022

Authorities in various Government Departments have spoken by responding to the queries of Foroyaa reporters on the recent oil spill at the Mandinari fuel depot in Kombo North district.

Speaking to Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, the Head of Communications at the National Environment Agency (NEA), his department is well aware of the oil spill and as the head of communications, he was the one who wrote a press release on the matter.

Sanyang further explained that a Joint Committee, comprising The Gambia Ports Authority, the Gambia Maritime Agency and NEA, recently held a meeting to look into the issue and will continue to meet today on the same matter. He promised to inform reporters on the outcomes of their meeting.
Photo: Oil remnants perched on the mangroves at Mandinari shoreline © Abdoulie Fatty

According to him, the Press Release which was dated on the 2nd of June 2022, informed the public that the said Committee and other relevant stakeholders are aware of an oil spill and all the necessary actions were being taken to address the situation; that it further stated that the said incident occurred on the 28th of May 2022, between the hours of 14:30-15:30.

He said the release disclosed that during a briefing with depot authorities, it was explained that 1,501.334 metric tons heavy fuel oil (HFO) was discharge from the Ship but the fuel depot just recorded 1,430.468 metric tons was received.

The release added that based on the fact that the difference between the quantities pumped by the Ship and the amount received by the depot was roughly 70.865) metric tons which approximately translate to 70,865 litres, it is therefore assumed that the difference is the quantity of HFO discharged to the shore.

Meanwhile, Lamin Camara, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy was contacted to shed light on the issue and he informed reporters at his office that there was indeed an oil spill, with over 70 metric-tons spilled into the sea; that now both NEA and the Gambia Maritime Agency are acting to ensure that the environment is clean.

“The issue at hand is an environmental and maritime issue. We are a part of it because it is done in our sector. The petroleum people polluted the environment, so it is the environment agency that has a problem with us. But I know NEA and other stakeholders are looking into the matter since they have their strategic ways of solving the issue,’’ he said.

According to Camara, the Petroleum Ministry is also working and coordinating with the concerned stakeholders as a Committee but further stated that their Ministry is not directly responsible for the pollution.

PS Camara then referred reporters to NEA and Gambia Maritime Agency for a detailed account on the incident.

Our reporters also proceeded to the Gambia Maritime Administration to also hear their version on this burning issue. At their Office in Bijilo, one Bubacarr Drammeh, the Human Resource Manager disclosed to this medium that a team from his institution was sent to the spilled site in order to ascertain what happened.

According to him, the Joint Committee otherwise known as a Taskforce looking into this matter, visited the site and are currently working hand-in-glove to establish the facts surrounding the issue.

However, Drammeh said he cannot comment further because he felt he was not in a position to give a detailed account of the incident, noting that the Deputy Director for Maritime Administration, Governance and the Environment, is the right person to answer their concerns, since he was part of the team that visited the Mandinari depot, but unfortunately, he was out of the country.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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11759 Posts

Posted - 11 Jun 2022 :  11:51:14  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Editorial on June 10, 2022

There is evidence that the oil spill commenced from the Gam Petroleum facility. Gam Petroleum therefore should explain what happened. It is significant to take note that the current is sweeping the oil towards the Pirang end, an area which had been a breeding ground for shrimps. The more the oil is allowed to be moved by the current the more the environmental impact will be worsened.

A fire brigade approach would lead to failure before any cleansing exercise is started. The extent of the flow of the oil and the quantity of the spill should be taken into consideration when it comes to the cleansing exercise. Foroyaa has spoken the National Environment Agency, which claimed to have issued a press release on the matter on Thursday, 2nd June. The matter was given a holistic approach.

The cleansing exercise should have started where the oil swept by the current reached and then move towards the direction of the oil spill. We need both expertise and equipment to be able to handle an emergency situation such as this. There is need for immediate action.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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11759 Posts

Posted - 13 Jun 2022 :  17:27:04  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


By Mamadou Dem & Mustapha Jallow on June 11, 2022

Gam Petroleum is expected to spend approximately the sum of One Million Seven-Hundred Thousand Dalasi on a cleansing exercise to wipe out the oil spill in affected areas near the estuary of River Gambia.

These revelations among others were made today at a Press briefing held at the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) headquarters in Kanifing.

The Joint Stakeholders Committee Working Group on the matter, decided to clear the air when information on the spill got rife in both local Newspapers and Social Media expressing concern on the gravity of the spillage and how it may affect the ecosystem.

The Committee Comprises the National Environment Agency (NEA), The Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA), Gam Petroleum, Public Utilities and Regulatory Authority (PURA), National Disaster Management Agency (NDAMA), Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).

Picture 2
Members of the panel at the press conference © Abdoulie Fatty

The Acting Executive Director of NEA, Dr. Dawda Badgie, in a statement revealed that on the 28th May, 2022, a Vessel MT ST Sturla, started discharging Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) at the Gam Petroleum depot in Mandinari.

According to him, the operations started at around 3:30 p.m. and ended at around 2:30 am; adding that Gam Petroleum during morning monitoring, detected the spill at around 7a.m. in the morning.

“State Agencies became aware of the oil spill at around 3pm Saturday afternoon following reports from the public and stakeholders within the community. Staff and inspectors from Gambia Maritime Administration, PURA, and NEA were immediately deployed to Mandinari to verify the reports and it was confirmed that significant amounts of oil were washing up on the coast,” said Badgie.

Further reading the statement, he disclosed to the Media that Gam Petroleum was summoned to PURA on Sunday, 29th May, 2022 to explain what happened and details of the operations were also recorded. Subsequently, an incident report was filed with PURA by Gam Petroleum limited.

“The report confirmed that the HFO pipeline had a hole of about 2-inches at 1.31 Km offshore and that HFO leaked from the pipeline,” Badgie revealsed. The report confirmed that the leakage happened during the period of discharge, he noted.

It was further highlighted at the presser that the Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA) was able to board the vessel and interview the ship crew as well as gather evidence from the ship and the records will form part of the records of the investigations.

Further reading the statement, he explained that the record shows that the amount of fuel received against discharged from the vessel is about 70.8 metric tons of HFO.

“It is believed that this is the amount of fuel released. The operating pressure of the discharge was initially maintained at 5 bars [pressure] and increased to 7 bars [pressure]. Both GP and the vessel detect no pressure drop during the operation,” he added.
Oil slick on the river bank quite evident © Abdoulie Fatty

Dr. Badgie also highlighted that the ship crew confirmed sight of the oil slick at around noon on Saturday, noting that the regulatory Agencies immediately formed an ‘Emergency Response Taskforce’ to contain the oil spill and Surveillance of the coastline was immediately started on Sunday (29th May,2022) from Denton Bridge, Jeswang and Mandinari respectively.

He said “Since then, speed boats have been used on joint efforts to track and identify the affected coastline. In Banjul, tourist boat owners confirmed the sight of a large oil slick drifting out of the estuary into the sea and stains were confirmed on some of the boats.”

“So far, patches of oil have been found in Pirang, and Bonto in isolated amounts. The Surveillance is on-going and will continue as the investigation continues. Divers are also been commissioned for underwater surveys to verify deposit of oil on the riverbed,” Badgie expounded.

According to him, on the 9th June, Gam Petroleum was informed by the Taskforce on the estimated cost of the cleanup exercise which should commence this week. However, Journalists were informed that if a date is identified, they will be invited to witness the exercise.

The Taskforce, according to the statement, has also considered international assistance and requests have been sent to United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and other environmental agencies; adding that support is also received in terms of data analysis and satellite imagery to guide the surveillance on the potential areas of contamination.

It finally stated that the Taskforce in collaboration with other agencies remain committed in containing the spill and where needed international help would be solicited.

During the question and answer session, the Acting Executive Director said “We know where oil spills occur, there will be damages to livelihood, particularly the fisher folks but that aspect is yet to be determined.”

The NEA acting head, intimated that Gam Petroleum is responsible for polluting the environment.

Further responding to questions from reporters on the cleansing, the Deputy Director of NDMA, Mr Sering Modou Joof, said they are not aware that a cleansing exercise was carried out by a company which was paid huge amounts.

On the issue of compensations as alluded by Mr Yero Jallow to the National Assembly, that it will cost GP D3,000,000 as reimbursement to the owner of the heavy fuel that spilled at the said depot, the Managing Director of NDMA, Sanna Dahaba, explained that he thinks MD Jallow was referring to the operational cost.

Mr Dahaba informed journalists that environment connotations have a legal implication and therefore appeal to the media to report accurately.

Mr. Nichlos Jatta, Director of ICT at PURA also disclosed that drones and satellite images were obtained, he said GP had assured that they will be responsible for the amount quoted by PURA.

He said during the course of the cleansing, they will deploy drones, and will also need equipment like Spades, Wheelbarrows and a host of other materials, including personnel.

According to Mr Omar Ceesay, Senior Programme Officer, Environment Information System, an NEA team embarked on a Survey on the 5th June, 2022 and it was confirmed that there was a spill, as per the satellite imagery produced on the spill and during the survey, it was confirmed that some of the information found on sites were in line with the satellite imagery.

However, as of yesterday (Thursday 9th June) the spill was already discovered in other parts that were earlier visited and, in that visit, they found it in Pirang and Bonto respectively.

He added that NEA officers later found the spill in Kunkujang Jattaya and Kubunneh as well.

However, he said there could be an oil spill in the other sites they visited which was not noticed during the visit. This may be as a result of the change in tide.

Mr Njagga Touray, Director for Intersectoral Services, NEA highlighted that it will take time to complete the investigations depending on the availability on the information required; adding that the most important thing right now is to take steps and do a rapid assessment to enable them know exactly where these oils are concentrated and then starts the cleansing. Director Touray, described the incident as an ‘ecological disaster.’
Fishing gears soiled with spilled oil © Abdoulie Fatty

“We are starting the cleansing this coming Saturday, 11th June, 2022 and all the basic equipment for the removal of the oil is already in place. And also, Gam Petroleum will be responsible for all the costs that are required for these activities,” said Touray.

“The spill has affected the livelihood of the people, particularly the fisher folks who mainly depend on fish and other marine resources.”

He further disclosed that their main focus is to mitigate the potential impact so that it won’t affect more, notwithstanding, after the investigations legal action may be taken against those responsible for polluting the environment.

Mr Alkinky Sanyang, NEA Head of Communications urged the Media to knock at their doors anytime they need accurate information; adding that it is certain that the cleansing exercise will start this week.

On allegations that the pipeline was neglected, Sompo Ceesay, the Director of Water Regulation, Energy and Petroleum at PURA said he doesn’t think at this point it can be said that the pipeline was neglected. “I think the focus of the government agencies is to respond. This response has different components, we first had to find out what happened, because as Dr. Badgie mentioned the first 24hrs was to investigate, is it from the vessel, is it on the pipeline or is it from the tanks, was the source of the contamination is established? Then we have to do a surveillance together to find out which areas have been affected.
The Gam Petroleum depot © Abdoulie Fatty

Meanwhile, following a meeting with the Senior Management Team of Gam-Petroleum, The Select Committee on Environment, Sustainable Development and NGO Affairs on Thursday conducted a spot check visit to the Gam-Petroleum Depot in Mandinari.

The purpose of the visit was to obtain first-hand information regarding reports on oil spillage at the national fuel depot.

Chairman of the Select Committee, Hon. Yaya Gassama, Member for Kiang East Constituency, assured the committee’s commitment to the fact finding into the oil spill with the aim to ensure a lasting solution to the problem.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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11759 Posts

Posted - 16 Jun 2022 :  22:01:59  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote


By: Fabakary B. Ceesay on June15th 2022
(GP depot at Mandinary)

It seems like the Government of the Gambia and its institutions cannot contained and does not have the ability and means to clean up more than Seventy (70) tons of oil that was spilled in the Gambian waters by a vessel at Mandinary oil depot, affecting more than 50 Kilometres of River Gambia, had to seek international support to clean up the pollution in line with National Oil Spill Contingency plan.

The said international support will be sought from the Republic of Senegal on the hope that Senegal has a long experience with oil exploration and experience in dealing with such massive oil spills.

Trumpet newspaper is reliably informed that, the oil spill that happened on 28th May 2022, had prompted an emergency meeting of stakeholders on 4th June, at Gam Petroleum depot, recommended that officials of the Ministries of Petroleum and Environment to contact their respective Ministers to lead the process of establishing contact with the relevant Senegalese authorities through their Embassy in the Gambia.

That a ground survey team of National Environment Agency (NEA), National Disasters Management Agency (NDMA), Gambia Maritime Administration (GMA) and Gam Petroleum to survey the shoreline from a boat towards Pirang to spot traces of the spill to have an understanding of the extent of the spill which will be assisted by Gambia Navy.

Trumpet has also learnt with dismay that the spill can affect the northern coastline of the North Bank Region as well as the Kombo South coastline and environmental inspectors are already consulted to monitor these areas for traces of the oil spill.

Members at the said meeting agreed that UNITAR to facilitate assistance with an aerial mapping of the extent of the spill along the possible sources and urged Gam Petroleum for the need to update its oil spill response plan as a matter of importance and urgency.

That GP to acquire equipment that can effectively deal with any oil spill and oil booms and a core of well trained personnel including representatives of regulatory bodies that will respond to any oil spill.

The meeting also recommended that PURA as the licensing authority of the sector, to convene a meeting with NEA, NDMA, MoPE, MECCNAR and GP for the purpose of GP to enhance its capacity in effectively dealing with oil spill.

Stakeholders at the meeting also urged GP to clean up around its depot’s immediate vicinity with removal of contaminated rocks.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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11759 Posts

Posted - 17 Jun 2022 :  23:59:35  Show Profile Send toubab1020 a Private Message  Reply with Quote



Nearly three weeks have already elapsed and there is no statement from the cabinet on the most extensive disaster confronting marine life in the Gambia. No authority has pin pointed the cause of the oil spill. Is it due to a burst pipe or loading or offloading challenges? The government is still mute.

No information is being shared with potential victims on what they could do to inform the authorities the challenges they are facing with the oil spill and what they could do to access NDMA. In times of disaster government must take the lead and all inhabitants in the disaster area mobilised to be part of the solution.

Without information there can be no concerted effort to solve the problem. Silence in the face of disaster is counterproductive. The sooner this is realised by the government the quicker it would act to the save the day.

"Simple is good" & I strongly dislike politics. You cannot defend the indefensible.
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