Engineer drowns in crude oil storage tank

Mr John K. Asemaku, Third Engineer on MT Bonsu-Q, a crude oil storage vessel, got drowned in one of the tanks when he attempted to fix a decoupled hose to a pumping machine on Thursday.

A statement from Saltpond Offshore Producing Company Limited (SOPCL), owners of MT Bonsu-Q, said: “As is usual during the rainy season, the seas have been very rough lately and as a result the roll of the MT Bonsu-Q has been significantly higher.”

It said due to the roll, some quantity of crude oil flowed intothe forward peak tanks of MT Bonsu-Q and in order to pump this crude oil back to the main cargo holds the forward peak tanks covers were opened on the 4th of July 2011 so as to vent the tank and evacuate the gas present.

The statement said: “This tank is designed in two chambers; an upper, and a lower chamber where the crude oil was lodged.

It said at an operational meeting held in the morning of 7th July 2011, Mr Asemaku, who was also the Crew Technical Head, decided to commence pumping the crude oil back to the main tanks with a diaphragm pump.

Two out of the three members of the team objected to the operation due to the intensity of the gas present in the area and asked for more time to allow the tank to vent properly.

Mr Asemaku over ruled his colleagues and went ahead with Mr James Duncan, the Pump Man, to commence discharging the crude oil from the tank in question.

The statement said Mr Asemaku initially succeeded in installing the discharge hose to the pump before coming back up to surface. The hose disconnected after some time and he went back into the tank a second time to fix the hose.

When the hose failed again he asked Mr Duncan to enter the tank to continue to try and rectify the problem with the hose as he was tired but he refused and told him that it was still not safe to enter the tank.

Mr Asemaku then went in the third time and on sensing the strong presence of gas started scrambling up to the surface but “unfortunately, he was overwhelmed by the gas and fell off the ladder into the tank of crude oil”.

“The crew mobilized another diaphragm pump and pumping is in progress to recover the body, the statement said.

Superintendent Emmanuel O. Narh Odonkor, Mfantsiman Municipal Police Commander, confirmed to the GNA that Mr Prince Osei Baffour, a Security Officer of SOPCL, came to report the incident to the Police.

He said the Company was in the process of pumping out the crude oil to retrieve the body after which the Police would take possession of it and send it to the morgue for autopsy.

Supt. Odonkor said Police investigations have started and early indications point to an industrial accident. The body has since been retrieved.

Source: GNA

  1. TT says

    This is tragic in these days in Age and Ministry of labour should investigate with proper action taken if all safety measures was in place and again if scafful was attached this engineer before he fell into the tank. Ghana, Ghana safety should be priority at work place. Ghana shouldn’t be like China or elsewhere where human life is of less value.

  2. Manuel Yeboah says

    This is really tragic and I think safety regulations should be improved, nevertheless the man should have also listened to his colleagues. This really sadens my heart.

  3. Gershon says

    This is unfortunate. The company should never be only interested in paying compensations to berieved families it should rather raise its safety standards to prevent such accidents.

  4. This is unfortunate. The company should rather raise her safety standards in order to prevent future re-occurrence of such a tragedy.
    Some of us have also graduated in Mechanical and Petroleum Engineering from Ho Polytechnic and University Of Mines And Technology, Tarkwa respectively. How can we get employed in the Oil and Gas industry so that we can play our part in the development of this country.? Thank you.

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