The pipelines in Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) laid for the transmission of crude oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline, among other highly inflammable products, to the refinery and other critical installations in the Tema metropolis have not been refurbished after 2010. Due to the lack of proper maintenance the pipes were corroded and the main valves were equally in deplorable conditions. It resulted in persistent leakage of petroleum products from pipelines at the oil jetty into the port.
As a result, petroleum products could be seen flowing freely from the damaged portions of the lines into the Fishing Harbour and the PSC Tema Shipyard giving rise to fears that the 2005 Good Friday disaster could recur. So, emergency repair works were carried out on its pipelines to prevent possible explosion at the Tema Port.
The oil jetty is a birthing facility where oil tankers dock at ports of entry to offload cargo which is piped or transmitted to the storage facilities onshore.
The acting Managing Director of TOR, Mr Kwame Awuah-Darko, after an inspection tour of the lines, took efforts to refurbish and replace the lines that ought to be replaced totally to prevent any possible catastrophe. What is happening is only emergency repair work. He said major repair works would be carried out later.
TOR had carried out inspection on the lines as far back as 2011 but were unable to replace worn out pipes due to financial challenges that had crippled the operations of the refinery since 2009. However, though the lines are bad, the transmission of products is still being done since there are no other alternatives for such purposes. Fear of a fire breakout and eventual shut down of the port that could have revenue implications for the country’s ailing economy had prompted the TOR to take up the emergency repair.
The situation ought to be addressed in earnest to avoid a recurrence of the 2005 tragedy in which a vessel at the shipyard caught fire after it came into contact with oil spillage on the surface of the sea from a leaking pipeline. Mr Daisie of GPHA, cited a near fire outbreak when during the transmission of aviation fuel from the jetty through the lines, high volumes of the product were spilled over during the transfer.
“We had to immediately halt the operations and evacuate personnel to safety to avoid disaster,” he stressed. He was of the view that the GPHA might be prompted to ask officials of TOR to halt operations of the lines until all safety concerns had been addressed.
“The tragedy at the world’s largest port, the Tianjin Port has become a wake-up call for port authorities across the globe to avert a similar incident. We can only hope that officials of TOR will address the challenges as soon as possible,” Mr Daisie emphasised.
Source: Ghana News