…Victim’s family wants CEO, tanks’ certifier fired
The recent explosion at the MANSCO Gas Station, located at Atomic Junction, near Madina in Accra, was caused by inferiority in the metal plate that was used to build the gas tank which was used to take delivery of the gas, The Republic has heard.
That accident, which killed seven people and injured 132, is a recurrence that dovetailed the seven other major gas explosions between 2014 and 2017, because all the explosions had the inferior tank quality as common factor.
Mr. Daniel Baccah, a man who is bereaved because of the MANSCO gas explosion, predicts that the accidents will continue happening until serious corruption at the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), which allows these inferior gas tanks to get into the system, is rooted out.
If the government is really serious about ending the menace, he recommends that people at the helm of the NPA, starting with its Chief Executive, are removed.
According to him, the CEO would have to go, together with whoever is in charge of certification of gas tankers.
Mr. Baccah explains that, per global standards, the thickness of metal plates used for moulding gas tanks is not supposed to be less than 15milimeters. However, in Ghana, many gas tanks that cart gas in bulk are less thick than the 15milimeters.
Meanwhile, the discharge of gas from the Atuabo Gas facility into these tanks happens at very high pressure.
This high pressure, coupled with the inferior quality of the gas tankers, he said, is what easily leads to the explosions that have become common occurrence in recent times around the country.
Mr. Baccah, who lost a relative to the explosion that happened at the MANSCO gas filling station at Atomic Junction in Accra, blames that explosion, too, on the poor integrity of the gas tanks.
He says the NPA, which is the regulator of the petroleum sector in the country, is to blame because the NPA is very much aware of this fact.
According to him, rather than ensuring that gas tanks meet global fabrication standards, people at the NPA take bribes and allow poor quality tanks into the system.
He specifically names people in charge of the certification of these tanks, including one Mrs. Esther Anku, as the immediate culprit, but says the NPA Chief Executive, Hassan Tampuli, himself is also in on the act.
The two have not been available to speak to the issue.
Gas explosions have recently become a common occurrence in Ghana with the past three years alone, recording at least eight major explosions. These explosions are said to be responsible for some 35% burn cases at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
Anytime these gas explosions occur, the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) tend to bear blame, but Mr. Baccah says that the blame should actually be put on the NPA, because, as sector regulator, it allows inferior gas tanks to cart the gas for distributions across the country.
In addition, he says, another causal factor of the accidents is that gas carted from Atuabo is received at very high pressure in the tanks which are already poorly fabricated.
These two factors – the poor quality of the tanks and the high pressure at which the gas is loaded – conspire to cause the explosions, Mr. Baccah said.
Meanwhile, information has emerged about the gas tankers that exploded at the MANSCO filling station, showing that the tankers belonged to a company called Andev, even though they had taken delivery of gas in the name of a company called Seam gas.
The two tankers, with numbers VR4872/12 and GN1488/16 respectively, exploded and burnt in the accident. They had exploded while discharging gas to the storage facilities at the MANSCO filling station, which is owned by one Richard Henaku and managed by one Mrs. Anne Agyemang Dua.
Allegedly, they had exploded because of the poor quality of their fabrication, a thing that the NPA is said to be aware of.
In a related issue, many of the June 3, 2015 filling station explosion disaster are said to yet to receive compensation, in spite of the fact that the Ghana Oil Company Limited (GOIL) is said to have released Ghc50million for the purpose of compensating the victims.
One such victim, a bereaved woman, Aba Akrong, who lost her daughter to the disaster, has allegedly been ignored by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, in spite of the fact that the National Security and the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) have long ascertained her background as the mother of a deceased victim, Linda Annang.
Madam Akrong is said to be one of several hundreds of people who have not received any compensation.
So far, it is said that only about 100 victims have been paid Ghc10,000 each.