Friday 14 June 2013

Nigerian sailor survives two days in sunken oil service vessel.

A Nigerian sailor has survived for two days in a tugboat that sank in 30 m of water roughly 32 km off the coast of Delta State, on 26 May 2013. The West African Ventures owned Jascon-4 was stabilizing an oil tanker loading crude at a Chevron-owned oil platform,  when it was hit by a storm swell, causing it to overturn and sink rapidly. Harrison Okene, who worked as a cook on the vessel, managed to get into an air pocket as the vessel sank, where he remained for the next 60 hours.

Harrison Okene, survived 60 hours in an air pocket at a depth of 30 m. Joe Brock/Reuters.

Mr Okene was eventually rescued by South African divers from  DCN Global Diving, who had been called in by Chevron and West African Ventures to search the vessel for bodies; nobody had expected anyone to survive this depth for this long. In order to rescue Mr Okene, who was suffering from dehydration and salt burns, it was necessary to move him to a diving bell then raise him to the surface, where he was transfered to a decompression chamber for a further 60 hours. Had this not been done he would have almost inevitably have suffered decompression sickness (the bends), which occurs when a body undergoes a rapid drop in pressure causing bubbles of inert gas (typically nitrogen) to form within tissue, and can cause paralysis, seizures and cardiac failure.

The bodies of 10 other crewmen were recovered from the wreck, one other never being found. The recovery attempt was eventually called off due to poor weather.

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