Fishermen operating around Atlantic Ocean near Bayelsa coastline on Sunday raised the alarm over an oil leakage suspected to be from the Funiwa oilfield operated by Chevron Nigeria (CNL).
The Fishermen mainly indigenes of Koluama in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, reported that they noticed crude on the water near the oil facility while on their usual fishing business.
According to the account given to ND REPORTERS, by Mr. Tombra Ebitimi, a fisherman from the coastal settlement, “We noticed the incident on Saturday night and subsequently reported same to the community leadership for proper investigation.
He also added that several helicopters have been deployed to the area for assessment as response efforts were yet to commence.
“Some of us who went on fishing sailed into the oil contaminated area near the Funiwa oilfield and got our nets and fishing gear soaked with crude on Saturday, by today we noticed some helicopters flying over the facility.
“It could be that community leaders have informed the company but our concern is that they should not apply toxic chemicals from the sky to dissolve the oil. Those chemicals used to disperse and break down crude is unfriendly to fish and marine life generally,” Ebitimi said.
He said that fishermen in the area had temporarily suspended fishing to avoid catching contaminated fish that could jeopardise public health.
First Exploration and Production, an indegenous oil firm operates Oil Mining Leases 83 and 85 acquired from Chevron following its divestment from some of its assets in the area where it still retains interests in some fields.
Officials of Chevron and First Exploration and Production are yet to respond to requests for comments on the incident.