Blessing in disguise?
Residents of Monrovia and its environs early Monday morning woke up to an unusual phenomenon regarding fuel (diesel) spillage over the Mesurado river, which many experts fear has the potential of an environmental hazard, especially to marine species and residents who live along the banks of the river.
Scores of residents of Monrovia began trooping to the river when news the broke out, with the hope of collecting fuel for their economic benefits, in spite of concerns for their safety.
The residents, many of whom came from the slum communities of Vai Town and Clara Town, converged near the bank of the river in huge crowds with gallons and jerry-cans in their bid to hunt for spilled fuel oil on the bank of the Mesurado River.
Dozens of women, children, and elderly men were also seen using canoes to fetch the spilled fuel floating over the river, while some jumped into the water to collect theirs. The residents were seen transporting gallons of fuel from the scene, with some voicing their happiness over the situation to newsmen in Monrovia, hoping that they will generate funds that will take them through the Independence Day celebration.
According to them, the spillage came at a time when they barely have money to purchase food and other essential goods for the upkeep of their homes.
The spillage, according to sources, came as negligence on the part of technicians and a damaged pipeline that supplies fuel from vessels to the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company (LPRC) storage tankers on Bushrod Island.
However, the management of LPRC has clarified that Monday’s spillage of fuel over the Mesurado River occurred while a vessel was loading fuel to one of the storage facilities, contrary to reports that one of its storage facilities got damaged.
Making the clarification on ELBC later on Monday, July 20, LPRC Managing Director, Marie Urey Coleman said about three thousand (3,000) gallons spilled over during the loading, adding that all active storage facilities are intact and safe.
“During the early hours of this morning we had a vessel that was discharging products for our importers and we had a minor spillage, with just under three thousand gallons of diesel that we had spilled over during the vessel discharge. We want to assure you that the situation has been placed under control,” Madam Coleman said.
LPRC’s Public Relations Manager, William Morris, added that the incident took place while technicians were loading one of the old tanks at the LPRC PST facility. Williams, like his boss, refuted the assertions of damage to the pipeline and collusion at the entity.
He said this is not the first time that the facility has experienced such an incident. “Similar spillage happened about two or three occasions during the past regime. This is not a strange thing. It happens all over the world,” Morris told this reporter.
However, he said…