Destination was Ilorin. Mobile Asset was a 2012 model fully-covered single-body truck and cargo weight was 24ton approximately valued at N21million. The truck had a factory-fitted 300litres capacity diesel tank positioned at the rear of the tractor. However, in view of the long distance shuttle envisaged for the truck, 2 extra tanks each capable of holding 400litres of diesel at a time was fitted left and right of the trailer portion just before the last set of rear tyres.
But on this occasion, the two tanks were empty as the default 300litres capacity is just enough to make the Ilorin delivery from Lagos.
Journey commenced just 4hours earlier. It was really going to be a ‘quick’ one. And the joy of returning early to pick the next delivery destined for Bauchi was enough sweet thought to occupy the mind with.
Progress was good and the traffic was considerably light. Average speed was 65km/hr and Ilorin practically appeared to be in sight. Passed Oyo a while back and you took a mental memory of that.
Suddenly, a loud bang reverberated from behind! A fleeting second before then, you had felt a slight rustle from behind but you thought nothing of it- you just assumed that it was the effect of the wind.
The images you picked from your rear-view mirror and the several signals from other drivers on both sides of the road instinctively made you realize that this loud bang could probably have something to do with you. So you slowed down and inched your truck to the side of the road. Other road users caught up with you and practically edged you and your motor-boy some 700meters back from where you packed.
Then the reality of what had happened dawned on you! Right there in the bush was a badly smashed Lexus Jeep. Emergency rescuers were already at work. Two souls were rescued from what is left of the vehicle; badly hurt but all thanks to God very much alive. Police from nearby Ollo village came around 20minutes later. Victims were taken for first aid treatment in the nearby local hospital and everyone including the loaded truck and the damaged jeep ended up at the police station.
So what really happened?
The welded steel brace holding the left rear fabricated diesel tank gave suddenly and the rectangular tank was sent flying in the air. With the combined speed at which the truck was moving and coupled with the speed of the wind, the flying empty tank automatically became a lethal weapon of mass destruction with force high enough to send a 3.5ton vehicle out of the road and into the ditch some 250meters away from the point of initial contact! If the 400litres capacity tanker had been loaded, the damage would have been colossal!
The Jeep was a complete write-off. Insurance stepped in proactively and made necessary arrangement for the required written indemnity to free the truck to complete the journey. It made sense to do this as allowing the multi-million naira cargo to ‘sleep’ overnight at the Police Station was too high a risk to gamble with. It would mean exposing the GIT cover to collateral risk. Moreover, the risk of a breach of contract from failed delivery also had to be considered. Agreement was reached with the owner of the Jeep to have it replaced and medical bills settled. The proactive insurer facilitated all of these in record time!
– Comprehensive Pre-trip preventative inspection is a must. Duly signed check-list and an accountability officer must go along with this arrangement.
– And because you can never be too careful, be mindful of who insures your assets!