This disturbing video from Al Jazeera shows what’s left of Chevron’s KS Endeavour gas rig, which exploded on 16 January 2012. Over 20 days later the site is still ablaze and the intense flames and plumes of smoke can be seen from the nearby fishing village. Local community activists released this footage:
According to reports in This Day, it could take 30 days before Chevron drills a relief well to put out the fire. In this video, Chevron Nigeria’s Executive Director Supo Shadiya refuses to provide even an estimate of when the disaster will end:
“I can’t give you a guess as to when we will be able to put out the fire.”
Chevron’s casual attitude towards the ecological impact of the disaster has been widely criticised. Chevron has dismissed local environmental concerns:
“There’s no known scientific basis to really talk about damage to the environment.”
However, the dead fish washing up on the nearby beach is one indication of a potentially serious environmental impact from the explosion and fire. Locals also report that 82 people have been poisoned from eating contaminated fish. There is an urgent need for independent and transparent monitoring of the disaster.
Chevron says it is providing “food” to the local community in Bayelsa State. Yet this is a poor substitute for proper environmental management and mitigation measures.