HAVANA, Aug. 12th A cargo of Russian oil bound for Cuba’s Matanzas terminal has been diverted to a smaller port, following a spectacular fire that destroyed a large portion of the island’s main oil terminal, vessel monitoring data showed on Thursday.
Lengthy power blackouts have followed the fatal blaze, which killed one firefighter and left 14 others missing. The outages are a sign of how the accident is aggravating a long-standing energy crisis due to an obsolete power grid and lack of fuel.
The Liberia-flagged tanker NS Laguna carrying 700,000 barrels of oil on Wednesday changed its destination to Cuba’s Antilla port, from Matanzas, making a slight turn toward a direction, and is expected to dock on Saturday, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA, Cuba’s main crude and fuel supplier, also diverted two shipments of crude to smaller Cuban ports after the fire.
On Wednesday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel said the country was designing a new system for receiving imports as part of a wider recovery effort after the worst oil fire in Cuba’s history.
The Caribbean nation’s government plans to assess its refineries’ capacity to process imported fuel, and utilizable infrastructure between those and ports, he added.
Cuba is heavily dependent on energy imports for everything from fuel for power generation to motor diesel and gasoline. The 2.4 million-barrel Matanzas terminal is the only one with a capacity to receive large vessels.