Site of Saturday's gas explosion at Atomic Junction

The Production Manager of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited (GCMC), Ezekiel Mensah, has expressed regret over the handling of gas cylinders by gas station attendants and supervisors across the country.

He was speaking Tuesday on Morning Starr in the aftermath of a gas explosion at Atomic junction in Accra which claimed seven lives, according to the Ministry of Information.

One hundred and thirty-two persons also suffered various degrees of injury and out of which 64 have been treated and discharged, the Information Minister Mustapha Hamid said in a statement Sunday.

He further noted that 68 injured persons including a fire officer at the Police Hospital are still receiving treatment with two others in critical condition at the Intensive Care Unit of the 37 Military Hospital.

It took the Ghana National Fire Service about 10 hours bring the billowing flames from the explosion under total control.

“The way we handle cylinders in this country is a problem,” Mr Mensah told Morning Starr host Francis Abban, adding “most of the gas attendants do not know what their job entails.”

“They just dispense gas without taking some key things into consideration,” he iterated.

Minister of Energy Boakye Agyarko disclosed Monday that government has given the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) the necessary clearance to hire 200 auditors to make sure that safety standards are complied with at all gas stations across the country.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia who visited the scene Sunday said government will act swiftly to stop such accidents in the country.

“Some new policies are going to come in and those who will try to resist I don’t think they will be listened to because we have to put the lives of our people above anything else. We are going to move quite quickly to do it. We pretty much have an idea what we need to do,” he assured.

Mr Agyarko said the Ministry has had extensive engagement with stakeholders in the industry about the new policy.

“I must admit that we have received some resistance from some vested interest who see this as impacting negatively on their businesses,” he observed adding, “But at the end of the day, what we ought to consider as a nation is the safety of our citizens over primary pecuniary interest. So it is that we will bring to the fore and make sure that the standard of care and safety around the handling of gas conforms to best international practice.”

“I agree that the sanctions are not punitive enough…we cannot continue to do the same thing and expect new results,” the Chief Executive Officer of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) Hassan Tampuli added.

Source: Ghana/