A 27,000-gallon oil spill covers the bay of Matanzas

HAVANA, Oct. 6th (EFE) Almost 27,000 gallons of oil spilled on Thursday in the bay of Matanzas, Cuba, 20 miles from one of the island’s most touristic spots, Varadero.

A breakdown during a discharge operation caused the dumping of one hundred cubic meters of crude oil in the bay of the western Cuban city of Matanzas, where the authorities have activated the protocols provided for this type of disaster, state media reported today.

The director of the Fuel Trading Company of the province of Matanzas, Lidia Rodríguez, said that the sanitation work carried out by specialized teams has reduced “to a minimum” the discharge that is considered “controlled,” according to the state-owned Agencia Cubana de News.

The spill took place on Thursday at the Super Tanker  Terminal, located in the industrial zone of the city – located 100 kilometers east of Havana – and through which most of the oil entering the Caribbean country enters, published the official website Cubadebate.

According to this means, the protocols were immediately activated, which allowed to isolate a good part of the spillage inside barriers, although the spill also extended to El Judío beach, where it has been mechanically worked to collect it,

Workers from several state companies, including the Camilo Cienfuegos and Ñico López refineries, as well as members of the Youth Labor Army, have moved to the area to carry out cleaning tasks.

More than 100 men remain working mechanically and manually to restore the cleanliness of the coastline where the deepwater docks are located, two of which are already operational, and a third is scheduled to be restored within the next 24-48 hours.

The operations director of the Fuel Trading Company, Kirino Hernández, explained that about 800 meters of barriers were used to contain the oil and considered that between 75-80 percent is already recovered.

The authorities investigate the causes of the accident, which is initially attributed to the failure of a team during the unloading of an oil shipment.

According to preliminary analyzes, the environmental impact “is not high, despite the actual spill,” said the head of Environment of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA) in Matanzas, Ángel Alfonso.

This is the second hydrocarbon spill that is produced on the island this year, after the one that occurred in the bay of Cienfuegos last June because of the heavy rains caused by the subtropical storm Alberto.

The Cienfuegos refinery, the largest in the country, then spilled some 12,000 cubic meters of oily water and hydrocarbons in the bay, after the facilities that inject the crude into the plant are flooded and part of the treatment system collapses.