Alleged action of pipeline vandals led to an explosion at Akinbo jetty, Ilado, close to Atlas cove area in the early hours of Wednesday.
The suspected vandals who attempted to siphon petroleum products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, pipelines, stormed the area at about 1 am in some boats and broke one of the pipeline valves.
The vandals however, reportedly escaped the scene on noticing some security operatives from afar.
One of the broken pipelines was suspected to have been struck with a metal implement leading to an explosion, and forcing the vandals to abandon over 200 jerrycans.
Spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, confirmed the incident, saying, “The fire did not start from the main pipeline. Rather the valves supplying the product was what exploded.
“The first batch of our team reached there around 7.30am and the fire was finally put out at the Akinbo Jetty of Atlas Cove around 10.48 am. Cooling and pegging process have commenced and it is not a barge but vandalism of NNPC pipeline against earlier information that a barge exploded.
“About 200 jerrycans of 50 litres were recovered as well as three burning boats belonging to the vandals.”
The Western Naval Command Information Officer, Lieutenant Commander Jerry Omodara, also confirmed the incident but said no casualty was recorded as earlier claimed.
According to him, “the situation has been brought under control and I spoke with the Commander NNS Beecroft, Commodore Chris Ezekobe, who confirmed that he had already deployed some officers to the area to access the level of the explosion.
The NNPC, reports said had to stop the flow of products before the fire could be put out by their men at the scene and also to allow repair on the damaged lines.
Sources at the Pipeline Products and Marketing Company, a subsidiary of NNPC said the lines would be re-opened immediately the repairs were completed.
National Emergency Management Agency NEMA, also confirmed the incident, saying, the fire was caused by suspected vandals and it was finally put off by NNPC officials around 9.50am.
According to NEMA, about 200 jerrycans of 50 litres and three burning boats were recovered from the suspected vandals.
NEMA South West information officer, Ibrahim Farinloye, said the valves supplying the product was shut before the fire could be put off “As soon as we received the alert, we instructed NNPC to shut the product network from Atlas Cove and cooling and pegging processes began,” he said.