A petrol tanker exploded in Olodi-Apapa area of Lagos on Tuesday, January 7, at about 10:30 p.m. The flames spread fast towards the buidlings and vehicles, destroying them. Many people were trapped in the fire, and, according to yet-to-be confirmed reports, the number of casualties is from five to nine. Scores sustained variuos degrees of injuries.
It was learnt that an oil barge discharging petrol at the MRS Oil and Gas tank farm jetty exploded within the Tin Can Island Port, Apapa, Lagos. The incident occurred because the vessel offloading product, premium motor spirit (PMS), into MRS tank farm was improperly handled: the 33,000L tanker lost control and somersaulted after brakes failure, causing a massive explosion.
Certain safety precautions that were not observed by the MRS workers who offloaded the product from the barge may have triggered the explosion.
Business activities in the neighborhood had to stop when glass doors and windows of buildings in the vicinity were shattered by the explosion. People within two kilometers radius had to flee the area. Eyewitnesses say some traders came at night to the scene to see if they could save their goods which were stored in the burning shops.
The administrative building of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ports and Cargo complex, and a branch of First Bank were also affected.
Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and Lagos Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were alerted and activated all their respective rescue units. Firefighting vehicles belonging to Integrated Oil Services and the Lagos State Fire Service were also seen at the scene of the explosion. Tugboats were used to tame the raging inferno.
The injured are now receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
As a result of the explosion loading of fuel suffered a setback in Lagos on Wednesday. The explosion led all fuel depots in Apapa to immediately halt fuel loading as a safety measure.
Apapa is the hub of fuel tank farms and seat of two biggest sea ports in Nigeria.