3rd Oil Storage Tank Collapses in Cuba Terminal Following Fire, Spill: Governor

By Reuters
August 8, 2022Americas
3rd Oil Storage Tank Collapses in Cuba Terminal Following Fire, Spill: Governor
A couple sits near the sea as smoke rises over fuel storage tanks that exploded near Cuba's supertanker port in Matanzas on Aug. 7, 2022. (Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters)

HAVANA—A third crude tank caught fire and collapsed at Cuba’s main oil terminal Matanzas, a local governor said on Monday, as an oil spill spread flames from a second tank that caught fire two days earlier in the island’s biggest oil industry accident in decades.

Cuba had made progress fighting off the raging flames during the weekend after drawing on help from Mexico and Venezuela, but late on Sunday the fire began spreading from the second tank, which collapsed, said Mario Sabines, governor of the Matanzas Province, about 60 miles from Havana.

Matanzas is Cuba’s largest port for receiving crude oil and fuel imports. Cuban heavy crude, as well as fuel oil and diesel stored in Matanzas, are mainly used to generate electricity on the island.

Sabines compared the situation to an “Olympic torch” going from one tank to the next, turning each into a “caldron” and now encompassing the area covering three tanks and with flames and billowing black smoke making tackling the situation “complicated.”

The communist-run and heavily U.S. sanctioned country is all but bankrupt and blackouts, gas, and other shortages already had created a tense situation with scattered local protests following last summer’s historic unrest in July.

Residents expressed fear that the crisis will worsen as the hottest months of the year bear down.

“No lights and no gas, that is what this means,” Havana resident Pia Ferrer exclaimed in an upscale neighborhood of Havana.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.