Tema, Ghana, May 8, 2019 – It could have been another story – “LPG truck explodes due to leakage; 5 killed and 50 injured.”
Fortunately however, this was nowhere near the case at the Blue Ocean Investments Multi-Product Terminal in Kpone, Tema. Thanks to a successful full-scale Tier-3 emergency simulation, Blue Ocean Investments – Ghana’s biggest Bulk Distributor of petroleum products – is now more equipped than ever before in the face of a highly unlikely real emergency.
Tier-3 incidents are the most serious types of incidents as their impact goes far beyond their immediate surroundings. In this exercise, the incident involved the simulation of an LPG leakage from an LPG truck using inert gas.
This full-scale simulation involved the feigning of injuries requiring first aid and ambulance responses, and the activation of internal emergency systems at the depot before external emergency services took over; combined with the assembling of the crisis management command teams at the company’s head office as well as the depot to bring the simulated crisis to an end.
Commencing at about one ‘o’ clock in the afternoon and ending around 4pm, the exercise demonstrated the robustness of the safety systems and team, while simultaneously revealing areas for improvement to ensure a seamless response all round.
Thoughts on the exercise
Speaking on the exercise, the Managing Director of Blue Ocean Investments, Mr. Yahaya Yunusa, emphasised Blue Ocean’s commitment to health and safety in all its operations, placing a premium on human life.
“At Blue Ocean Investments, health and safety is our number one priority. We will not wait for a real incident to get our house in order. While it is important to ensure that we can continue to serve our customers’ needs following a crisis, one simply cannot place a value on human life. We will therefore not compromise on ensuring that our workers, our customers and our surrounding community are safe by putting our systems to the test and enhancing them where needed,” said Mr. Yunusa.
For his part, the Head of Operations of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Mr. Paul Assifuah Baidoo, commended Blue Ocean Investments for the swiftness of its internal emergency team who had already commenced fighting the fire prior to the arrival of the GNFS.
“I was impressed by the Blue Ocean team and how they had already begun firefighting with state-of-the-art equipment before we arrived on the scene. We were directed right to the incident which enabled us to leap into action quickly. It would however be ideal to ensure that the incident commander hands over to the GNFS to coordinate the response once on site, but this was not done. Overall however, I must say that it was a good exercise,” said Mr. Baidoo.
The Environmental, Health and Safety Director of the Kpone Municipal Assembly, Mr. Jonas Ablade, added the following:
“Blue Ocean did well to leave the loading trucks at the bay instead of trying to evacuate them, as this could cause further emergencies such as spills and fires. After all in disaster management, the main aim is to save lives, property and the environment,” said Mr. Ablade.
Other entities that participated in the drill include the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO); the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Red Cross, Ghana Ambulance Service, neighbouring company Oiltanking, and partner transporter company J.K. Horgle Transport.
Blue Ocean Investments has made significant investments in oil storage infrastructure in Ghana. In addition to its state-of-the-art storage facility in Takoradi which stores and distributes gasoline and gasoil, the company owns and operates two storage terminals in Tema storing Aviation fuel, Gasoil, Gasoline and LPG, as well as a depot at the Kotoka International Airport that stores Aviation fuel.