Cameroon is tackling crude oil spillage

Jun 26, 2007 02:00 AM

A study to follow up the protection of Cameroon's coastal zone and the marine environment is being finalised at a seminar in Kribi. Actors in the petroleum sector and managers of Cameroon's coastal zones and marine environment are in Kribi, exploring ways of preventing and tackling petroleum-related pollution of the country's coastal zone and the sea.
Within the framework of a seminar that started on 25 June, the different actors will debate and adopt a plan on the follow up of the protection of the coastal zone and the marine environment. It is organised by the Pipeline Steering and Monitoring Committee under the project, "Cameroon Petroleum Environment Capacity Enhancement" (CAPECE).

The focus of the concertation and training seminar is timely. This is understandably so because Cameroon's coastline that stretches from Rio Del Rey to Campo covers a distance of about 402 km. There is a high concentration of the maritime transportation of oil in Cameroon's waters.
To buttress this fact, Collins A. Angwe, Researcher at the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, presented a talk on the first day of the seminar on "Accidental discharge of oil into the marine environment: Some basic concepts for field follow-up of pollution". It emerged from the presentation that maritime transportation of oil is an important source of petroleum pollution in the Cameroon coastal zone.

Petroleum tankers from the Middle East and Gulf countries use the country's transport route to Europe and America. Many tankers also cross Cameroonian waters during transportation of crude oil and refined petroleum products from within the country and other Central African countries like Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo.
According to Collins A. Angwe, "the Cameroon coastal zone is therefore sited along major international petroleum transportation routes".

Cameroon therefore needs an efficient way and system of tackling any future risk of accidental spillage of crude oil and/or refined products in its waters. This is more so, because important petroleum exploration and exploitation activities are on in the country.
The Chad-Cameroon Pipeline is a glaring example that attracts both the attention of the government and all actors in the management of the country's maritime and coastal ecosystems. The terminal of the pipeline that transports crude oil from Doba in Chad to Kribi in Cameroon is located some 12 km in the sea from the seashore.

Collins A. Angwe stated that, "On the 15th January 2007, there was an accidental crude oil leakage from the COTCO TFSD Kome I, Kribi with an estimated spill of 220 barrels". The incident comes to justify the preoccupation of the Pipeline Steering and Monitoring Committee to put up a plan to combat petroleum-related pollution.”
“This is because in case of an accidental spillage of petroleum products into the sea, much damage will be done to sea creatures and the aquatic food chain. For instance, there will be the destruction of fish nurseries, microscopic plants and animals and other aquatic species. Such an accident will equally lead to the poisoning of fish and consequently, a blow to the country's economy.”

Source: Cameroon Tribune
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