Truck Overturns and Spills Oil

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK After the rare incident of an oil spill, resulting from a truck that overturned along the Western Bypass in the early hours of yesterday morning, Municipal workers, assisted by Slabbert Burger Company employees, cleaned up the mess. The incident occurred when an oil tanker carrying some 16ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 litres of used marine oil overturned on the highway, leaving a large pool of oil at the scene. Two of the 8ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000-litre oil tankers lay on the ground near the Mahatma Ghandi Bridge early yesterday morning. Oil spilled on the ground and on parts of the bridge. A section of the road was also damaged by the truck when it overturned. Both the truck driver, Asser Tjikurese, and a passenger were slightly injured and were taken to the Katutura State Hospital for medical attention. According to the driver, who works for WESCO Company – an oil recycling company based in Walvis Bay – the truck overturned when the second tank went out of control. He was on his way from Walvis Bay to LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼deritz when the incident occurred. Although the Western Bypass is known for its numerous road accidents, this is the first time that a truck carrying large volumes of oil has overturned on the dangerous route. This specific stretch of road is between the Central Prison and Katutura State Hospital. As a result of the incident, Superintendent Adam Eiseb from the City of Windhoek’s Traffic Department said the area had to be closed off for a period of time and traffic was diverted until such time as the workers had cleaned up the oil spillage. All vehicle drivers had to use alternate routes to their various destinations on Wednesday. The Chief Executive Officer of WESCO, Anton Pretorius, was quoted on radio as saying that the cost of damages due to the oil lost from the truck amounts to N$70ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000. The company will further incur financial losses of about N$100ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 in cleaning-up costs. Late yesterday afternoon, officials from the City of Windhoek’s Infrastructure, Water and Technical Services and Slabbert Burger Company were at the scene clearing away the spillage. Industrial Pollution Inspector from the Windhoek Municipality, Saltiel Kalimbo, said there was serious contamination on the environment as a result of the spillage. “We are busying clearing it up before it goes too deep into the ground,” said Kalimbo. Some of the oil also tipped a bit over the bridge some two metres down. The severely dented side of the steel bridge railing prevented the truck from hurtling down. “We’ll dig a hole to throw the contaminated sand in and will refill the affected area with other sand, explained Kalimbo.