Explosion, fire at Lagos port (PHOTO)

UPDATE 2: An explosion and fire hit a barge at Lagos main seaport in on Wednesday, shaking buildings in the area and wounding at least four people, officials said.

The explosion occurred on a barge seeking to discharge fuel into a tank on a jetty at the port, leading to a fire that sent a huge plume of smoke into the air but which was put out a couple hours after it began.

“There was a ship that was trying to discharge into an oil tank owned by (Nigerian firm) MRS and there was a fire, but I don’t yet have any details as to what led to the fire,” said Ibrahim Farinloye of the National Emergency Management Agency.

An MRS security official who asked not to be named told AFP “it was a fuel explosion” from the barge.

“We were lucky that rescue efforts came in time. The fire could have caused severe damage, but the fire has now stopped and there are no fatalities,” he said.

Farinloye and the Red Cross said four people were wounded.

“Nobody died. We only recorded four injured people who had been taken to hospital for treatment,” Iteogu Adaku from the Red Cross told AFP. “We have also succeeded in extinguishing the inferno before it could spread.”

Residents reported an explosion that caused buildings to shake. The port includes jetties where fuel importers unload petroleum products.

“I felt the explosion from where we are,” said Charles Osagie, who works at an import and export office in the district.

Around a dozen firefighters battled to douse the flames as company security officials prevented journalists from taking pictures or making telephone calls, including by confiscating phones for a time. The phones of some rescue workers who were taking photos were seized as well.

UPDATE 1: Firefighters are working to douse the flames and four people were wounded in the blast, AFP news agency reports.

Nema’s Akande Iyiola told the BBC it was not clear what had exploded but it was likely to have involved fuel.

Earlier report…

ship caught fire after exploding at the Tin Can Island port in Apapa area of Lagos NEMA officials say a ship caught fire after exploding at the Tin Can Island port in Apapa area of Lagos.

MRS oil tank Farm is said to be engulfed in flames.

It is not yet known if there are any casualties. The level of damage is also not known.

Details later…

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