Floating oil production and storage vessel (FPSO) Trinity Spirit has sunk off the coast of Nigeria after catching fire and exploding.

According to reports, the ship was carrying ten crew members, all of whom are currently missing.

It is still not clear as to how much crude might have spilt into the sea.

Shebah Exploration and Production Company Limited (SEPCOL) stated that they leased the ship on a bareboat basis from an offshore firm, which acquired the ship from ConocoPhillips.

Built in 1976, Trinity Spirit measured 1,105ft and had a capacity of 274,774dwt.

SEPCOL CEO Ikemefuna Okafor was quoted by Reuters as saying: “At this time there are no reported fatalities, but we can confirm that there were ten crew men on board the vessel prior to the incident and we are prioritising investigations with respect to their safety and security.”

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Trinity Spirit was operating as the main production facility for the OML 108 in Nigeria’s offshore Ukpokiti oil field, situated near the Niger Delta.

According to SEPCOL, the FPSO had the capacity to process up to 22,000 barrels a day, as well as inject up to 40,000 barrels a day with water.

In addition, Trinity Spirit had an oil storage capacity of 2 million barrels.  

Local media outlets reported that on 2 February one or more explosions took place on board the vessel. These were followed by a raging fire.

In a brief statement, SEPCOL said that local communities and other oil field entities working in the area made attempts to control the accident.

Okafor said: “The cause of the explosion is currently being investigated and we are working with necessary parties to contain the situation.

“We appreciate the assistance provided us by the Clean Nigeria Associates, the Chevron team operating in the nearby Escravos facility, and our community stakeholders as well as fishermen, who have been of tremendous assistance since the incident happened.”

At present, efforts are being made to contain environmental damage.

Nigerian officials are also planning an investigation in to the cause of the fire.

Last July, an explosion on board a containership anchored at Jebel Ali Port in the UAE caused a large fire.