UPDATE ON THE SERIOUS FIRE SITUATION AT THE BASE OF SUPERTANKERS OF PETROLEO IN MATANZAS, CUBA. AUGUST 8, 11.00 AM
A tense day is being experienced in Cuba today due to a large-scale fire at the Supertanker fuel base in Matanzas, east of the capital.
Last Friday, the impact of an electrical discharge caused a large fire in one of the fuel tanks located at the Supertanker Base, on the outskirts of the city of Matanzas, east of Havana.
The deposit contained some 26,000 cubic meters of national crude oil, around 50% of its maximum capacity, when the intensity of the lightning struck the dome of the facility.
Although the causes of the incident are yet to be evaluated, it seems that there was a failure in the lightning rod system, which could not withstand the energy of the electrical discharge.
The President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, arrived in Matanzas shortly after. Díaz-Canel thanked the willingness of several countries that have offered help, already counting on the arrival of brigades from Mexico and Venezuela. He commented to the journalists that “we are facing an event that is not usual in the country, it is not a hurricane; we are talking about a fire of high proportions in a supertanker base, very difficult to control».
He argued that “in Cuba we do not have all the means that are required, nor all the technology and, therefore, we are counting on that technical advice that allows us to compare ourselves to know what level of knowledge and how much updating we have.” He added that, with the experience of people from these countries, who have been involved in other events of this magnitude, this situation is being addressed. “In addition, they have arrived with supplies and chemical substances necessary to make the work more effective.”
For his part, the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carlos Fernández de Cossío, deeply thanked the condolences and expressions of help from various organizations and people from the US on the occasion of the incident in #Matanzas, including the US government, which offered technical advice, already proposed in the hands of specialists for proper coordination.
The Cuban Ministry of Public Health has reported 122 injuries, of which 1 died in a fire in Matanzas. There is also a group of around 15 young firefighters missing.
Authorities from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment have explained that about 6,300 tons of pollutants began to be emitted into the atmosphere from the first moment of the explosion in Matanzas and that they will continue to be emitted until the fire is extinguished, which constitutes a risk for the population of the western region of Cuba.
Shortly after 11:30 pm on Sunday, a strong explosion was felt in the industrial zone of Matanzas. The second fuel tank collapsed, after burning for almost 40 hours, causing a huge mass of fire that lit up the entire city of Matanzas and was seen even on the Malecón in Havana.
Provincial Defense Council of #Matanzas reported that the gigantic explosion at midnight on Sunday was due to the collapse of Tank Two (of 8 tanks) and the spill of fuel.
A few minutes ago, it was reported that the third fuel tank has not collapsed and is still covered, but the danger is imminent due to the intensity of the nearby fire (06.00 a.m. Cuban time).