Cuba brings oil depot fire under control after five-day blaze | Oil and Gas News

Firefighters and specialists from Mexico and Venezuela helped battle the blaze in Matanzas utilizing boats, planes and helicopters.

Firefighters have lastly overcome what officers described because the worst fire in Cuba’s historical past that blazed over 5 days and destroyed 40 % of the Caribbean island’s principal gasoline storage facility and precipitated monumental energy outages.

Matanzas is Cuba’s largest port for receiving crude oil and gasoline imports. Oil and diesel saved in 10 huge tanks at the port are primarily used to generate electrical energy on the island.

Rolando Vecino, the top of transport for the Cuban inside ministry, mentioned on state-run tv on Tuesday afternoon that firefighters had “managed to regulate the hearth” .

Al Jazeera’s correspondent Ed Augustin mentioned raging flames that had ravaged a four-tank phase of the Matanzas tremendous tanker port had died down and the towering plumes of thick black smoke streaming from the port had been now largely gray.

“The blaze lastly appears to be beneath management,” Augustin mentioned, talking from Matanzas port. “You possibly can see an enormous quantity of smoke billowing out however crucially, the color has modified.

“For the final three days, the color has been a deep soot black,” he mentioned. “Now it’s a light-weight shade of gray, proof that a lot of the hearth has been smothered.”

Extra helicopters joined the hassle to place out the hearth on Tuesday, together with two fireboats despatched by Mexico and heavy firefighting gear.

Later within the day, firefighters for the primary time had been capable of enter the world and spray foam and water on the nonetheless smouldering stays of the gasoline tanks.

Officers haven’t mentioned how a lot gasoline has been misplaced within the fireplace. Authorities mentioned that no oil had contaminated the close by Matanzas Bay. Nonetheless, they warned residents as far-off because the capital Havana – situated roughly 60 miles (130 kilometres) from the port – to put on face masks and keep away from attainable acid rain as a result of giant plume of smoke the hearth generated.

Lightning strike

The hearth broke out when lightning struck a gasoline storage tank on Friday night. The hearth unfold to a second tank by Sunday and engulfed the four-tank space on Monday regardless of efforts by native firefighters supported by greater than 100 Mexican and Venezuelan reinforcements.

One firefighter was killed and 14 reported lacking on Saturday when the second tank blew up, authorities mentioned, correcting an earlier determine of 16 lacking. 5 others stay in crucial situation. Greater than 100 folks had been reported injured, with 22 nonetheless in hospital.

The massive blaze was accompanied by big explosions. Every storage tank had the capability to carry some 50,000 cubic metres or 50 million litres of gasoline.

The Matanzas gasoline depot, constructed within the Nineteen Eighties and modernised a number of instances, provides Cuba’s Antonio Guiteras thermoelectric plant, the biggest energy technology plant within the communist nation.

Cuba, which remains to be beneath heavy US sanctions, is all however bankrupt.

Frequent energy blackouts and shortages of gasoline and different commodities had already created a tense state of affairs on the island with scattered native protests that continued after final summer season’s historic unrest in July.

“The issue with (electrical energy technology) has not been the shortage of gasoline, however the crops are very outdated and have upkeep issues,” mentioned Jorge Pinon, a Cuban skilled in vitality coverage on the College of Texas.

“Now they may also have an absence of gasoline,” Pinon mentioned.

“In the event that they lose Matanzas, they lose the flexibility to produce the ability crops,” he mentioned.

A man types on his cellphone near a huge plume of smoke rising from the Matanzas Supertanker Base as firefighters work to quell the blaze which began during a thunderstorm in Matanzas, Cuba
A person sorts on his cellphone close to an enormous plume of smoke rising from the Matanzas Supertanker Base as firefighters work to quell the blaze which started throughout a thunderstorm in Matanzas, Cuba, Monday, August 8, 2022 [Ismael Francisco/AP Photo]

Russian forces, Ukraine both claim control of vital power plant | Russia-Ukraine war News

The destiny of Ukraine’s second-biggest energy plant was hanging within the stability after Russian-backed forces claimed to have captured it intact, however Kyiv didn’t affirm its seizure, saying solely that preventing was underneath means close by.

Seizing the Soviet-era coal-fired Vuhlehirsk energy plant in japanese Ukraine could be Moscow’s first strategic acquire in additional than three weeks in what it calls its “special operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbour.

Russian and Russian-backed forces have been struggling to make significant progress on the bottom since their seize in early July of the japanese Ukrainian metropolis of Lysychansk.

Unverified footage posted on social media on Wednesday appeared to point out fighters from Russia’s Wagner personal army firm posing in entrance of the Vuhlehirsk energy plant, which some Russian state media – citing Russian-backed officers – reported individually had been stormed.

Ukraine didn’t affirm the ability plant’s seize and solely stated that “hostilities” had been underneath means in two close by areas. It stated on Monday that “enemy items” had made some positive aspects across the plant.

British army intelligence stated on Wednesday that Wagner fighters had in all probability succeeded in making tactical advances within the Donbas area of japanese Ukraine across the energy plant and the close by village of Novoluhanske.

It stated some Ukrainian forces had in all probability withdrawn from the realm.

Russia initially sought to seize the capital Kyiv within the early days of its invasion however later retreated, focusing its efforts on Ukraine’s japanese Donbas area.

Farmers harvest wheat as Vuhlehirsk's heat power plant burns in the distance after a shelling, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the Donbas region
Farmers harvest wheat as Vuhlehirsk’s energy plant burns within the distance after shelling [File: Gleb Garanich/Reuters]

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk province that varieties a part of the Donbas, stated no less than one individual had been killed by a Russian strike on a lodge within the city of Bakhmut, which is north of the ability plant and a goal that Russian forces have stated they need to seize.

“In response to preliminary data, there are lifeless and wounded; a rescue operation is underneath means,” Kyrylenko wrote on Fb. The native emergency service stated a toll of 1 lifeless and 4 wounded had been confirmed up to now.

Ukraine hits bridge in Kherson

Russian forces in the meantime suffered a setback in southern Ukraine’s Kherson area after Ukrainian forces struck an essential bridge straddling the Dnipro river with what a Russian-appointed native administrator stated had been United States-supplied excessive mobility artillery rocket techniques (HIMARS).

Ukraine’s Defence Ministry stated on Twitter the assaults on bridges over the Dnipro created an “inconceivable dilemma” for Russia.

Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Russian-installed regional administration in Kherson, confirmed the bridge had been hit in a single day and site visitors had been halted.

However he sought to downplay the harm, insisting that the assault wouldn’t have an effect on the result of the hostilities “in any means”.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak stated on Twitter that Russians couldn’t “escape actuality” and may “discover ways to swim throughout the Dnipro River”.


Ukrainian forces in latest weeks have been clawing again territory within the Kherson area, which fell to Russian forces simply and early after their invasion launched on February 24.

Their counteroffensive, supported by Western-supplied long-range artillery, has seen its forces push nearer to Kherson metropolis, which had a pre-war inhabitants of about 300,000 individuals.

Grain exports

Ukraine on Wednesday stated it had restarted operations at its blockaded Black Sea ports because it moved nearer to resuming grain exports with the opening of a coordination centre to supervise a United Nations-backed deal.

Kyiv has stated it hopes to start sending out the primary of thousands and thousands of tonnes of grain “this week” regardless of a missile strike by Russia over the weekend on the port in Odesa.

Ukraine’s navy stated “work has resumed” on the export hubs to arrange for ships to be escorted by means of the mine-infested waters to succeed in world markets.

John Stawpert, supervisor for surroundings and commerce on the Worldwide Chamber of Transport (ICS), stated there are about “100 ships stranded within the ports of the north and western Black Sea” however that not all of them will be capable of transport Ukrainian grain to international markets.

“Of these [ships], about 50 will be capable of carry this grain out,” Stawpert informed Al Jazeera from London, the place the ICS has its headquarters.

“How we crew them stays a query that must be answered,” he added.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s greatest grain exporters has contributed to a spike in costs that has made meals imports prohibitively costly for a number of the world’s poorest international locations.