By: Fatoumata Joof,
Ministry of Interior
The Ministry of Interior hosted a meeting of stakeholders on Monday 25th July, 2022 to discuss health, safety, security, and environment related issues surrounding the Petroleum and Gas Depot at Mandinary Village in Kombo North. The meeting afforded officials the platform to identify the security threats, environmental risks and strategic remedies at the depot.
The meeting was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mr. Abdoulie T.B. Jarra.
During the meeting, the Honourable Minister of Interior, Mr. Seyaka Sonko said the location of the depot is a security concern and the facility does not only need a Fire Tender but a Fire Station to be able to respond to any emergency. He added that there is a need to install a maintained buffer zone between areas occupied by the residents and the Depot for safety and that the Alkalo of Mandinary, Governor of West Coast, Physical planning, GRA and other relevant stakeholders to collaborate and ensure that this is achieved. He further emphasized the need for welfare of the security officers, including soldiers posted there to be taken care of by the authorities at the depot.
The Permanent secretary, Ministry of Interior, Mr. Abdoulie TB Jarra said that the over concentration of depots at the same area is very dangerous and equally echoed the need of having a fire tender for emergency response. PS Jarra said fire tenders are quite expensive but if all the institutions including the government collaborate it will be easier to purchase one.
The representative of PURA, Mr. Sompo Ceesay said there are plans to move some of the depots to a safe and secure location adding that the Gambia is strategically located for business. Thus, there is a need to have a proper parking lot for the trucks which come to the Gambia for their fuel. He added that the depot needs maintenance to avoid burst of pipes within the station.
He also highlighted the risk posed by not only the congestion at the Lamin NTC junction but also the welding workshops on the sides of the narrow road to the Depot where people also prepare food for sale thereby posing a great risk.
Mr. Lamin Komma of the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it is important to have a contingency plan even though there exists a National Contingency Plan since (1998). There are new institutions coming up, so the lead institutions need to see it finalized. That will help the Depot get their own. He suggested that institutions embark on a site visit and that NEA has a stake in it as it is mandated with coastal zones. The new contingency plan will ensure that all institutions know their individual responsibilities.
Mr. Amat Janha of GFRS informed the meeting the arrangement of various components at the Mandinary Depot being too close which may trigger an out-break of fire easily. He added that it will be safe to clear the immediate surrounding to allow patrols outside the premises.