ERB probes Mpika fuel tanker-fire incident

The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has urged petroleum transporters to strictly adhere to regulations and safety requirements to avoid accidents following an incident where two tankers caught fire in Mpika.

In a statement issued, Thursday, ERB director for consumer and public affairs Fred Hang’andu stated that the board was investigating the incident and would take appropriate action to determine whether there was a breach of licence conditions following the incident, which took place last Saturday.

“The ERB has been investigating the fire incident that happened in Mpika on Saturday 3rd November, 2018, involving two tankers, which were allegedly carrying fuel for Mount Meru. Considering the hazardous nature of petroleum products and the strict regime under which transportation is governed, our interest in this matter is mainly premised on the need to take appropriate action should we determine that there was a breach of licence conditions. We are, therefore, engaging Mt. Meru with a view to getting their side of the story before we conclude our investigations in the matter. In light of this unfortunate incident, the ERB would like to urge all petroleum transporters operating in the country to ensure that fuel tanker drivers strictly adhere to safety requirements and only park vehicles at designated locations,” stated Hang’andu.

“Further, members of the public are advised to be highly safety conscious around petroleum facilities and when in the vicinity of petroleum products transporting vessels. It should be noted that fuel is highly fire-prone, posing grave danger to human life and the environment in the event of spillage of fuel or slippage of fumes. Therefore, in the event of a fuel tanker accident, members of the public should keep away from accident scenes and immediately alert relevant authorities, such as the Fire Services Department, Zambia Police and or indeed contact the ERB, free of charge, on 8484. The ERB shall provide more information on this matter once investigations have been concluded and facts established. The key safety issues on which petroleum tankers operating in Zambia are assessed include the following: presence of fully functional fire extinguishers; valid drivers’ certificate for transportation of dangerous goods training; valid driver’s license; no faulty electrical wiring, which could result in a fire; state of the tyres, including combination. Re-treaded tyres are not allowed on the tractor (horse) of the tanker; display the mandatory symbolic warning signs on the tanker.”

         

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