Trinity Spirit, an oil production ship with a capacity of 2 million barrels of oil, exploded at the Ukpokiti oil field off Nigeria’s coast, near the Escravos terminal close to the River Niger delta.

The vessel, which exploded on Thursday night, is a floating production storage and offloading unit owned by Shebah Exploration & Production Company Ltd (Sepcol). These kinds of ships serve a similar function to larger oil rigs. They are used for the production, processing and storage of oil by the offshore oil and gas industries. The explosion of the Trinity Spirit is the fourth major spill this year, after the disasters that had occured in Peru, Ecuador and Thailand.

Also read: Tonga receives water and telecommunications help from Australia

Ikemefuna Okafor, Sepcol’s chief executive, said on Thursday that the Trinity Spirit ship also had ten crew members, who haven’t yet been accounted for. He also added that attempts to contain the situation were being made with help from local communities and the nearest facility of Chevron, the oil multinational. He stated, “At this time, there are no reported fatalities but we can confirm that there were 10 crewmen onboard the vessel prior to the incident and we are prioritising investigations with respect to their safety and security.”

Also read: Thai resort island safe from oil slick due to weather and cleanup

Investigations as to what caused the unexpected explosion have been undertaken. It is not yet clear how much oil had been spilled by the Trinity Spirit.

This incident is Nigeria’s second environmental disaster in recent times. There had been a huge oil spill three months ago from a disused, capped wellhead which released 20,000 barrels of oil a day for a whole month into the waterways of Nembe, in Nigeria’s Bayelsa state. The previous spill was described by the Nigerian government as being ‘like Hiroshima’. The leaking oil had caused the death of marine life and damage to mangroves and waterways.