A ‘Majestic’ oil drilling rig recently acquired by Seplat Energy Limited and being installed at the Ovhor oilfield in a riverine community of Sapele local government area of Delta State, have collapsed, killing five oil workers including a Briton.
The Majestic Rig said to be operated by SEPLAT/NNPCL joint venture had collapsed with 96 crew members on board in the early hours of Tuesday.
It was gathered that some other crew members on board of the rig at the time of the incident were still missing as at Wednesday.
The oil company was said to have immediately activated rescue operations when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Sources within the company, who confirmed the incident, revealed that at least five lifeless bodies had been recovered from the scene of the incident by Seplat’s rescue team.
The sources, who declined disclosing the identities of the victims, said among the bodies of the deceased recovered so far was that of a British expatriate, who was among the crew members.
“As soon as we got the news of the incident, the company activated search and rescue mechanisms, and the efforts yielded great results, as we speak most of the workers are safe and getting medical attention, but sadly, we lost about six staff, a Briton included with about six other workers still missing as at yesterday,” one of the sources added.
But in a swift reaction, Seplat Energy claimed only one oil worker died from the mishap while a few others were yet to be accounted for.
In a statement issued by Seplat’s Executive Officer, Mr. Roger Brown, he noted that out of the 96 crew members on the rig, 92 of them were safe and that some of its workers were still missing.
“Seplat Energy regrets to announce a serious incident on the Depthwise swamp drilling rig “Majestic” in the early hours of this morning. Seplat as the operator of the SEPLAT/NNPCL joint venture contracted the rig. It was in-transit to its planned drilling location at Ovhor in Delta state when it capsized.
“92 of the 96-member crew are accounted for and safe. However, tragically one fatality occurred during the incident, while three other rig personnel are still missing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the crew member who sadly lost his life and the three crew members who are still missing at the time of this report. Our emergency response and rescue efforts working alongside the rig owner and the authorities have been activated and are onsite. Our utmost priority will continue to be the safety and wellbeing of all the affected personnel and their families.
“We will provide further details as our understanding of the incident develops. A detailed investigation into the cause of the accident will follow,” the oil company stated on Tuesday.