Fire at Chevron rig in Nigeria called 'the worst in African history' (39792)

A gas ire that burned for 46 days off Nigeria’s coast has been extinguished, according to the Chevron Corp of San Ramon,Calif., but a full cleanup is far from over.

The oil company’s rig exploded Jan. 16, killing two people before it collapsed into the sea.

The explosion started a re on the ocean surface,and the damage reached a village some six miles away.

Fishermen in Koluama have complained of fumesand dead dolphins on theirwhite sand shore. Drinking water and ish taste like fuel, they said.

“The gas is inside the sh,” said Bravely Salvage, youth chairman for the village.

“After eating the ish,you feellike somebody who has drunk diesel, you feel dizzy.”

“There are very clear ecological impacts that are not hidden, that are very visible,” said Nnimmo Bassey, chair of the environmental advocacy

group Friends of the Earth International. He cited dead sh and a beached whale turning up on the shores. “If one whale dies,it means several thousands of smaller species have been impacted.”

The re, he said, was “the worst in African history in terms of gas burned.”

Chevron said its tests hadn’t found pollution in the air or water,but that it would hire investigators from a nearby Nigerian university to conduct further studies.

The United Nations Environment Program in August estimated it would take 30 years and cost $1 billion to clean up the oil spilled over the decades into Nigeria’sriver deltas.

Oil companies and Nigeria’s government should share the cost, the U.N. group said.