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15 Tankers Burn In Kpone Fuel Depot Fire   
 
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04-Oct-2019  
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At least 15 bulk road vehicles (BRVs), otherwise known as fuel tankers, loaded with petroleum products were burnt when fire engulfed a fuel storage depot at Kpone in the Greater Accra Region last Wednesday.

Two other BRVs at the nearby Tanker Yard of Goodness Energy, an oil marketing company, were partially affected by the fire.

Firefighters could not immediately determine the cause of the blaze, but the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (CPC) said it suspected foul play.

Some eyewitnesses too gave an indication that the fire might have been caused by an attempt to transfer fuel from one tanker to another.

The fire, which started in the late hours of Wednesday, was extinguished by firemen from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).

It took six fire engines from the Tema Office of the GNFS to bring the blaze under control.

Injury

One person was reportedly injured when he tried to safeguard some fuel tankers and other valuables in the yard, but officials of the GNFS could not confirm that.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Deputy Tema Regional Fire Commander, Divisional Officer One Mr Timothy O. Affum, said the office received a call about the outbreak of the fire about 7.30 p.m. last Wednesday.

He said on arrival at the tanker yard, firemen realised that the blaze was very intense and so they had to call for reinforcement.

The firemen were able to put out the fire by 2 a.m. yesterday, but soon after they left, the fire reignited and after hours of effort, it was totally extinguished about 7a.m.

Mr Affum said there were about 35 fuel tankers in the yard at the time of the incident, and that after the firefighters had managed to confine the fire, they advised that the rest of the vehicles be moved out.

When the Daily Graphic visited the area yesterday, none of the workers around was ready to speak on the issue.

They later locked up the facility and left.

Chamber of Petroleum Consumers suspicious

The incident had elicited a damning reaction from the CPC, which said it believed the fire had erupted as a result of “some illegal fuel boxing or adulteration activities within the said yard”.

“Intelligence sources indicate the blast had been occasioned by some illegal activities resulting from the boxing of some premix fuel with PMS and AGO using manual pumps in the process,” a statement signed by the Executive Secretary of the chamber, Mr Duncan Amoah, said.

“While this unfortunate practice of mixing or adulteration of fuels is heavily frowned upon and sanctions should be strict and severe, recent developments suggest very little has been achieved in that regard.

“Reports of premix fuel diversions abound and we expect the authorities to clamp down heavily on these operators who are engaged in this illegal trade of diverting premix fuel meant for fishing boats to some tank yards to be adulterated with other petroleum products for onward sale and discharge at some specific fuel stations,” it said.

Profound adulteration

According to the CPC, last Wednesday’s fire further exposed the profound nature of the adulteration of petroleum products, a development that continued to be a major headache for the authorities and Ghanaian fuel consumers.

“A recently launched industry report by the CBOD estimates that about GH¢2.7 billion in revenue due the state had been lost to these illegal operators within the past three years. It is thus our expectation that the state will go after these operators to clamp down on such activities to forestall any further revenue losses to the state,” it said.

It noted that the practice of diverting and adulterating fuel products not only deprived the state of much needed revenue but also put consumers at a very high risk of developing all manner of mechanical and transmission challenges with their vehicles, as the resultant products were usually far below the acceptable minimum national specifications and standards.

“While we believe proper investigations will be carried out at the said tank yard, we would want to see perpetrators of such criminal practices of diverting and adulterating petroleum products brought to book immediately to serve as a deterrent to others engaged in this illegal trade.

“We further call on the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and the Ghana Standards Authority to immediately conduct an audit trail of all such products sent to some of these tanker yards and the fuel stations that buy or patronise such products in order to protect the unsuspecting public from the harm adulteration does to our engines, as any attempt to cover or protect the perpetrators will not be countenanced,” the statement said.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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