After suggesting that the rig fire off the coast of Nigeria could burn “for months,” Chevron has announced that it is no longer burning.
Apparently the fire stopped burning by itself several days ago, as gas was no longer flowing from the well. I have read differing accounts about why the gas stopped leaking, but at this point Chevron can’t guarantee that this is the end of the story. The company is continuing with relief well drilling.
There is still no information available on environmental damage or compensation for fishermen and villagers who say that both their livelihoods and their health have suffered as a result of the 45+ day fire. For more than one month now, there have been news reports of tests to determine contamination levels. But we’ve yet to see any results.
Last month I wrote about strange eye infections in Axim that some locals blamed on gas flaring. Axim, or Tired of Talk, I titled the post because local citizens were frustrated with talk that rarely seemed to get followed by action. When I visited Axim in August residents had been waiting several months for oil company officials to carry through on promises to send out a medical team for screenings.
I took a trip to Axim today. Axim is a town about an hour’s drive west of Takoradi. It’s a major fishing port, one of the largest in Ghana. There are 800 fishing canoes operating out of Axim and some of the big canoes have 20 person crews. So from Brewire to Apewosike, there are literally thousands of people fishing in the Axim area.
I met with Nana Kojo Eshun, the chief fisherman of Lower Axim. I wanted to talk to him because I’ve heard some stories from fishermen recently about health problems in Axim that some here blame on gas flaring in the Jubilee field.