Yesterday Royal Dutch Shell said it had closed a Gulf of Mexico deep drilling operation after spilling 319 barrels of contaminated fluids, as Care2′s Beth Buczynski reported here.
Today we read that Nigeria has just suffered Shell’s worst oil spill in a decade, and Nigerian coastal and fishing communities have been put on alert.
Shell’s Rape of Nigeria Continues
The company said up to 40,000 barrels of crude oil was spilled on December 21 while it was being transferred from a floating oil platform to a tanker 75 miles off the coast of the Niger delta.
From The Guardian:
All production from the Bonga field, which produces around 200,000 barrels a day, was last night suspended. “Early indications show that less than 40,000 barrels of oil have leaked in total. Spill response procedures have been initiated and emergency control and spill risk procedures are up and running,” said Tony Okonedo, a Shell Nigeria spokesman.
Satellite pictures obtained by independent monitors Skytruth suggested that the spill was 70km-long and was spread over 923 square kilometers (356 sq miles).
But a leading Nigerian human rights group said Shell’s figures about the quantity of oil spilled or the clean-up could not be relied on. “Shell says 40,000 barrels were spilled and production was shut but we do not trust them because past incidents show that the company consistently under-reports the amounts and impacts of its carelessness,” said Nnimmo Bassey, head of Environmental Rights Action, based in Lagos.
The List Of Shell’s Environmental Atrocities In The Niger Delta Grows Longer
As reported by Amnesty International, in 2008, two consecutive spills, caused by faults in a pipeline, resulted in thousands of barrels of oil polluting the land and creek surrounding Bodo, a town of some 69,000 people. Both spills continued for weeks before they were stopped. They devastated the lives of tens of thousands of people, destroying livelihoods, undermining access to food and clean water and putting health at risk. No proper clean up has ever taken place.
Last month, Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) issued a report on the situation and demanded that Shell oil pay $1 billion to begin to clean up the pollution.
Shell Made $7.2 Billion In Three Months, But Can’t Afford To Clean Up?
Shell, which recently reported profits of $7.2 billion for July-September, initially offered the Bodo community just 50 bags of rice, beans, sugar and tomatoes as relief for the disaster.
The rape and pillage of Nigeria has been going on for decades. Ken Saro-Wiwa, the environmental activist who was fighting for the rights of the Ogoni people, whose land was being destroyed by Shell, was executed for defending his homeland 16 years ago; in fact Amnesty International’s report was issued to mark this anniversary.
“The prolonged failure of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria to clean up the oil that was spilled, continues to have catastrophic consequences,” the Amnesty report noted.
Is Royal Dutch Shell familiar with the word “Accountability”? Shame on you, Shell.
Photo Credit: Remember Saro-Wiwa