Seypec investigates Jet A-1 fuel leakage


The Seychelles Petroleum Company (Seypec) is investigating an incident on Sunday morning whereby some one hundred thousand litres of Jet A-1 fuel leaked out of a tank based at the company’s Airport depot.

According to the Seypec operations and technical general manger (GM) Ray Hoareau, the situation is now contained and fortunately the fuel leaked out of one of the smallest tanks at the depot, the A2 tank which has a capacity of eight hundred thousand litres.

Mr Hoareau said the Seypec team noticed a strong smell of Jet A-1 fuel in the air upon turning up for duty for their normal day to day operations.

“We completed our morning stock intake before starting the delivery to aircraft, we saw that there was something wrong with the stock levels. One operation team had to continue with normal operation which was to refill aircraft and we called for backup from the Seypec administration office and the safety department so they came to assess the situation,” he said.

He said a pool of Jet A-1 fuel was found outside the Seypec premises and then it was discovered that the tank was leaking from the bottom. When the leakage was detected they suspected the tank contained about 253,000 litres and during the stock over 100,000 litres were left.

“The rain and the high tide were pushing the fuel outside Seypec boundary into a trench which is lower in level,” he said.

The Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority (SCAA), Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA), the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change were also informed of the situation.

“Contractors were called in from outside to beef up our maintenance team to ensure that the salvation process and containment of the spillage went faster than we were equipped to do so,” he said.

Mr Hoareau said dispersants were applied in areas were the fuel was found and the tank has been emptied and they are awaiting the necessary green light from their internal safety department to survey the extent of the damage and to detect the cause of the leakage.

“Whatever petroleum product which the Jet A-1 has been sipping in the ground is slowly stabilising and we plan to continue pumping for the whole of this week until we are satisfied there are no more Jet A-1 trace. The fuel left in the water will eventually evaporate as the fuel floats,” he said.

He ensured members of the public that the tanks are very safe although this incident has happened as the tanks have been there since the opening of the airport.

“The tanks on other depots which have been recently built have got membrane underneath which keeps fuel from sinking into the soil in case of leakages but however the ones at the airport were built over 45 years ago when that requirement did not exist,” he said.

As the residents in Cascade have been reporting that the smell of the fuel was disturbing them on Sunday, Mr Hoareau said yesterday they confirmed that they are satisfied with the clean up.

Mr Hoareau noted that the way forward for Seypec is to reconsider a complete renovation work which they usually do every five years.





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