Oil Production Ship Explodes Off Nigerian Coast

The fire has been put out, but a full investigation this weekend will reveal more details

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Once again, the ocean is on fire. This time, rather than an underwater oil spill, the cause is right on the surface: An oil production ship off the coast of Nigeria has exploded, sending fire and black smoke off of its hull.

The boat, called the Trinity Spirit, was used for production and storage of oil. Its total capacity was about two million barrels, though it’s unknown how full it was when it ignited. The blaze was captured on video from a nearby boat, and posted to Twitter by Nigerian outlet TheCable:


Ten crew members were aboard the Trinity Spirit when it went up in flames, though no fatalities have been reported as of yet. Nigeria’s National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency will carry out an investigation over the coming weekend, and hopefully recover anyone stuck aboard the ship.

While the fire has been put out, it’s unclear if oil is still leeching into the surrounding water — and whether any oil that does will make its way to shore. Hopefully, the ship’s 22,000-barrel-per-day capacity won’t make for a major oil spill, but it seems experts aren’t so optimistic. United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed took to Twitter to voice concern:


To put that amount of oil into perspective, the pipeline leak in California from last October was about 25,000 gallons - just 588 barrels. Compared to a ship that can process 22,000 barrels a day, and store two million barrels, it’s a drop in the bucket — or a drop in the ocean.

Now that the fire is out, the major cleanup work can begin. As we’ve seen time and time again with oil spills, that’s often the most time-consuming part — and the part that shows the most damage to the environment.