Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is This True About the Bonga Fields Shut Down?

The Vanguard

Shocking! bonga oil floating station was shut-in by security workers, not MEND militants

Written by Kingley Omonobi
Saturday, 28 June 2008

Exactly a week after the alleged militant attack on the Shell operated Bonga floating production storage and offloading vessel, leading to the shut-down of 225, 000 per day crude oil output and rise in world price of crude, Vanguard can report authoritatively that the attack and shut-in of the flow station was actually carried out from within the vessel.

Recall that last Thursday 19th June, the Bonga floating station was shut-in following alleged attack by Mend militants while an American, Capt Jack Stone who works for an oil services company was kidnapped and later released.

However, military sources told Vanguard at the weekend that the incident occurred when security personnel numbering about 55 who are staff of a privately owned security outfit operated by a retired senior military officer (Navy Captain, Course 11 intake) forcefully shut the floating station in protest of Shell’s maltreatment.

Their grouse was that for the past three months, inspite of having worked under severe and dangerous conditions, day and night offshore, to secure the multi-billion dollars investment, Shell refused to pay them their salaries.

Explaining further, the source said since the private security firm entered into contract with Shell, it was disheartening to see the oil giants reneging on the fulfillment of the contract particularly as it relate to payment of salaries.

“So for Shell to come out and deceive the world by claiming that militants were the ones that attacked Bonga floating station which is 122 nautical miles off shore, to cover their shortcoming is to say the least, unpatriotic. Infact, Bonga is so far offshore that no boat, even fast boats normally used by militants can survive, going and coming back alive without encountering Naval Patrol ships”.

The source continued, “These angry security workers who have families to feed felt that the only way to make Shell wake up to the realities on ground, was for them to shut the floating station. So it was not a militant action at all. Even the American that was kidnapped was not really kidnapped”.

“Mr. Stone who deals in boats and marine transport for staff and expatriates working on the floating station as well as other such flow stations, was just unlucky to be at Bonga at the time the security workers were venting their anger and was asked to stay put until they complete the shut-in. That was why he was let off after the shut-in”.

Emphasizing that the shut_in was not due to any militant attack, the source said, “There was no destruction of equipment of any sort at the Bonga station and this is due to the fact that the shut_in was professionally done. No damage or death was recorded which would have been unusual if their was a shoot_out. And if there had been a shootout, radar’s of Naval patrol ships would have picked them up”.

Asked to comment on the reaction of the Nigerian military that immediately follwed when the incident was reported, the source said precautionary measures had to be taken to forestall any further attacks assuming it was true, before proper investigations commenced.

On whether Shell has paid the security workers their salaries to enable work resume on the oil vessel, the source said he could not comment on that as negotiations were on going between both parties emphasizing however that Shell was in the habit of causing unnecessary crisis in the Niger Delta to put the country in bad light.

No comments: