The Petroleum Regulatory Agency (PRA) has sealed- off former Safecon filling station at Shell New Road Kissy for failing to comply with the regulations for operators of fuel stations.
“A fuel stations should have a certificate from the labour ministry and another certificate from the Ministry of Works before the owner is allowed to operate,” Steven Murray Jr., Registration and Compliance Manager Petroleum Regulatory Agency said in an interview last Friday.
“Our mandate is to oversee downstream petroleum activities. My own office is responsible to ensure compliance in relation to what the regulations are,” Mr. Murray Jr. Said.
“They have failed to comply with the Factories Act which is handled by the Ministry of Labour and that of works.”
“As a prerequisite you have to have your certification from labour for health and safety and that of works for your installations, storage tanks and the Standards Bureau for measurement and quality,” He stressed.
A study on the operations of the filling station shows that they don’t have any documentation whatsoever for the past 3 years, he stated.
We lost 3 people in the Christmas fire accident at this station and a fire fighter is still struggling for her life. “We as an agency thought it fit to ensure conformity with the laws”, He said.
Victor Nwabunwanne supervisor of the fuel station did not interrupt the Petroleum Regulatory Agency staff together with staff of the works and labour ministries as they sealed off the pumps, tanks and recorded the seal numbers. Victor said they have the necessary documents but they were with the dealer Dr. Alhaji Musa.
On Christmas day there was a fire accident at this station that led to the death of 3 people and a fire fighter is still hospitalised. Two or 3 days after the accident, this station began to sell fuel to the public in contravention of the regulation, Mohamed Alimu Kamara, Inspector of Factories in the Ministry of Labour said.
“We brought it to the attention of the Petroleum Regulatory Agency and the PRA visited the point,” Mr. Kamara said. The Factories Act of 1974 empowers the Ministry of Labour to stop the operation of any filling station that does not have a certification from the ministry. Mr. Kamara was part of team to seal off the station.
Mr. Hassan Savage, an engineer in the Ministry of Works said that he approached the manager of the filling station in March 2015 and after the December inferno but the manager refused to allow him to inspect the tanks and storage facilities. According to Cap 236 of the Petroleum Act he quoted, the Act empowers them to enter any premise storing petroleum products for commercial and domestic purpose to assess leakages and safety of the storage facility.
The law establishing the agency states that breaking any of those seals will lead to a fine of Le.50 million.
The fuel station should be named Leonco and not Safecon because they get their fuel from Leonco and not Safecon. The station manager has therefore defaced the Safecon emblem. This is the first time that the PRA is actually closing down a filling station and Mr. Murray Jr, the compliance manager of the agency is acting with the blessing of Executive Chairman Dan Mason.