An explosion occurred on Monday at the Bonny-Bille-Nembe Jetty in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. This unfortunate incident resulted in the significant loss of goods and properties worth millions of naira.
There have been a series of unfortunate events at the jetty, with a tragic incident occurring most recently in April 2022. This incident resulted in the loss of several lives, including a pregnant woman and a two-month-old baby.
The jetty, a crucial transit point for riverine communities, witnessed a horrific scene as multiple explosions set ablaze over six market boats, trapping passengers.
The ongoing inferno has created a state of chaos and panic among traders and travellers at the jetty.
A witness named Lartey, who spoke with media outlet, Punch, recounted that the fire originated from an explosion on houseboats transporting substances believed to be illegally refined oil.
The eyewitness said, “The fire actually started with an explosion. Some house boats carried liquid materials suspected to be refined oil when it started.
“The first explosion led to two other explosions in the boats. Some makeshift buildings and structures near the jetty were also affected.”
The source said he went to buy some items with which to travel with when he heard the explosion, saying hundreds of people stood afar to watch the thick black smoke billow into the atmosphere.
Some workers at the jetty and other volunteers took to self help by mixing detergents and sand in water to put out the raging fire.
He said, “As they were doing that, the fire subsided but it was inside the River so it was difficult to access the other part looking into the deep waters.
“So it it was still raging and the crowd of people were just watching helplessly as the boat let burning.”
The initial blast caused a chain reaction of explosions, completely consuming the nearby makeshift buildings and structures.
Amidst the chaos, traders and travelers hurriedly gathered their belongings, desperate to salvage what they could.
As the fire raged on, it was further intensified by the presence of highly combustible substances on the vessels.