‘Minimal Impact’ To Environment Found From Samoa Fuel Tank Explosion

No visible evidence of leakage into surround properties

By Ilia L. Likou

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, June 9, 2016) – An explosion at one of the fuel tanks at the Matautu Wharf, which killed an employee of Petroleum Product Supplies Ltd earlier this year, caused “minimal impact” on the environment.

That’s the conclusion by a group tasked to investigate the environmental impact of the explosion, which caused nationwide panic and shut down the Apia Township in April this year.

The Environmental Audit Team included representatives from the Ministry of Natural, Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.), Samoa Scientific Research Organisation (S.R.O.S.), Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.), Ministry of Finance (M.O.F.) and two private Civil Engineers. 

According to a copy of their report addressed to the Disaster Advisory Committee (D.A.C.) obtained by the Samoa Observer, the group did not sight nor note by smell, the presence of any diesel spillage from the affected tank.

Although significant structural surface damage was visible around the tank, the group found that there was no “visible evidence of leakage to adjacent properties specifically the container yard to the east, west and southern boundaries and into the sea. The isolation valves were advised to be locked fully for the tank farm.”

The investigation then concluded that the damage to the environment was minimal. 

“Having inspected the subject site as well as discussions made with the MoF representatives, the team is satisfied that the incident caused minimal environmental impacts to the environment and its adjacent surroundings,” the report found. 

“It is recommended therefore that: No further environmental assessment is required of the subject site.”

On 4 April at 10am, there was an explosion at one of the diesel fuel storage tanks on the wharf at Matautu-tai. 

The explosion triggered a fire, which was responded to within minutes by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (F.E.S.A) personnel.  Emergency workers immediately evacuated everyone within close proximity to the wharf. 

One of two employees working on the storage tank at the time of the explosion died. The second employee was treated and discharged.

As a safety precaution, the main fuel terminal at Sogi was shut down immediately. 

The main focus of the Emergency response team was to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading to the other two adjacent tanks. 

Upon learning of the incident, Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, led the coordination of the Disaster Advisory Committee at F.E.S.A headquarters and personally requested assistance from the Australian, New Zealand and United States Governments.  

Samoa Observer
Copyright © 2016 Samoa Observer. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment