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25.03.2005 General News

Fire raging out of control at PSC Tema Shipyard

By GNA
Fire raging out of control at PSC Tema Shipyard

Tema March 25, GNA- About 20 people have been trapped in a vessel that has caught fire at the Tema Shipyard in Tema on Friday. Two of the men have however swum to safety. The vessel, MV Polris, has been undergoing maintenance work for the past three months. According to reliable sources, the fire was caused by spillage of oil from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) pipeline that has been leaking for the past one week. Mr Stephen Quansah, a mechanic, told the GNA that he and his colleagues were working on the vessel since morning and heard the explosion at exactly 1030 hours on the vessel that caught fire. The vessel is still on fire and firemen from the Ghana National Fire Service in Accra, the Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority and TOR are trying to bring the fire under control. ... TOR To Shut Down? Tema, March 25, GNA - The Minister of Energy, Professor Mike Ocquaye on Friday asked the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), to shut down immediately to prevent the spread of a ferocious fire at the PSC Shipyard at Tema to its premises. The fire that was detected at about 1030 on Good Friday has affected the seawater-pumping house of the Refinery, which serves as a coolant while plumes of thick black smoke have filled the air. Prof. Ocquaye who was at the disaster scene told the Ghana News Agency that the fire had melted the VALCO conveyor belt in addition to a water pump. He said the disaster had serious insurance implications hence the presence of representatives of the insurers of TOR to assess the situation critically. The fire has been raging out of control and the Minister of Health, Major (RTD) Courage Quashigah, who rushed to the scene has sent SOS message to the public for assistance. Major Quashigah said he was contacting the Ghana Air Force, which has modern fire fighting equipment to assist. So ferocious is the fire that there are fears that other nearby vessels would be engulfed by the flame. At least 17 people, made up of 14 Ghanaians, one Guinean, one Greek and one Russian who were carrying out repair works on the vessel when it caught fire are feared trapped in the vessel. Two workers on the vessel, however, swam to safety. The vessel, MV Polris, has been undergoing maintenance work for the past three months. According to reliable sources, the fire was caused by spillage of oil from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) pipeline that had been leaking for the past one week. Mr Stephen Quansah, a mechanic, told the GNA that he and his colleagues were working on the vessel since morning when they heard the explosion. The fire was ignited when fire coming from repair works on the vessel caught the oil on the water. Personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Ports and Harbour Authority and TOR are still battling to bring the fire under control. <

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