Image credits: Suhas Rawool
News Article

PEMEX and Mexican Armed Forces Sent to Cuba to Fight Fire

By Anamary Olivas | Tue, 08/09/2022 - 21:05

Workers from PEMEX as well as Mexico’s Navy, Army and Air Force with expertise regarding firefighting were sent to Cuba to help mitigate a fire caused by lightning hitting an oil tank in Matanzas. The fire caused at least 77 people to suffer injuries and continues to wreak havoc as of the time of writing.


The President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, announced the measure this Saturday, as he expressed his gratitude to Mexico and other countries that promised to support the effort to extinguish the flames. "We express deep gratitude to the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile, which have promptly offered solidary material aid in the face of this complex situation," he tweeted. The Cuban president also voiced his gratitude to the US for the technical advice it has provided on the matter.


President López Obrador confirmed during his work tour of Colima that his administration will support Cuba until the fire is brought under control. A lightning strike hitting a crude oil storage tank in the Cuban city of Matanzas caused a fire that spread rapidly to a second talk while firefighters and specialized personnel tried to contain it.


The incident began Friday night, when a lightning storm hit ​​the Matanzas Supertanker Base, reported Cuba’s Ministry of Energy and Mines. As of Saturday, there were about 77 people injured and 17 firefighters missing, authorities said. On Saturday night, two Mexican planes landed in Cuba with personnel from PEMEX and the military. This Monday, a third crude tank caught fire and collapsed, reported Reuters.


“Welcome Mexican brothers. We count on your expertise and your solidarity to continue fighting the fire at the Matanzas Super Tanker Base. Thank you, President López Obrador, for the immediate response to our emergency. Thank you, Mexico,” said the Cuban president during the early hours of Sunday. The Mexican ambassador to Cuba, Miguel Díaz Reynoso, assured that Mexico will send three planes with aid, including chemicals and other materials will be sent to fight the fire.


Residents of a neighboring region were evacuated since black smoke was blown toward the capital Havana. The fire could not be controlled despite the work of firefighters and specialists. Authorities reported at least four explosions and three tanks on fire. They said they will ask international experts for further help and support.


Matanzas is Cuba’s main crude oil and fuel port, often used to import the resources. The fuel oil and diesel stored at the Matanzas port is used to produce power in the country.

Photo by:   Suhas Rawool
Anamary Olivas Anamary Olivas Journalist & Industry Analyst