Cuba accepted US technical assistance to control the fire in Matanzas

People look at a huge plume of smoke rising from the base of the giant oil tanker Matanzas, as firefighters and specialists work to extinguish a fire caused by an electric storm the day before, in Matanzas, Cuba, Saturday, August 6, 2021. The fire and four associated explosions left behind More than 70 wounded.  (Associated Press/Ramon Espinosa)

Individuals have a look at an enormous plume of smoke rising from the bottom of the large oil tanker Matanzas, as firefighters and specialists work to extinguish a fireplace attributable to an electrical storm the day earlier than, in Matanzas, Cuba, Saturday, August 6, 2021. The fireplace and 4 related explosions left behind Greater than 70 wounded. (Related Press/Ramon Espinosa)


The Cuban authorities mentioned it accepted “technical steerage” from the US to assist island authorities put out a raging fireplace that threatens to engulf an oil storage facility within the Matanzas port, in what could possibly be one of many few examples of cooperation between the 2 international locations in recent times.

“We enormously recognize the condolences and expressions of help from individuals and organizations in the US relating to the #Matanzas incident, together with from the US authorities, which supplied technical recommendation, a proposal that’s already within the fingers of pros for acceptable coordination,” mentioned Carlos Fernandez de Cossio, Deputy Minister Cuban Overseas Ministry, on Twitter.

Cuban chief Miguel Diaz-Canel normally takes to Twitter to speak about US sanctions towards Cuba and criticize the Biden administration. However the depth of the hearth and the firefighters’ failed try to include the flames up to now have prompted the authorities to simply accept the supply with a public letter of thanks.

“We categorical our deep gratitude to the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Nicaragua, Argentina and Chile, who instantly supplied materials help in solidarity within the face of this complicated scenario,” Díaz-Canel mentioned. We additionally recognize the supply of technical recommendation from the US.

The Ministry of Overseas Affairs didn’t present particulars of what was supplied to Cuba.

Learn extra: Cuba was already dealing with an electrical energy disaster. These explosions could make it a lot worse

An company spokesperson mentioned the Biden administration is “intently monitoring the scenario, together with any humanitarian wants that will come up.”

“The US embargo authorizes American individuals to offer and reply to catastrophe aid in Cuba,” the spokesman mentioned.

And the US embassy in Havana had beforehand mentioned that it was in touch with the Cuban authorities and despatched its condolences to the victims of the hearth, which has injured 77 up to now.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has change into an in depth ally of Cuba, additionally despatched staff from the state oil firm Pemex to assist put out the hearth.

Cuban authorities mentioned the hearth began round 7 p.m. Friday, when a lightning strike struck a crude oil storage tank within the unloading space of ​​the port of Matanzas. Regardless of the efforts of firefighters to manage it, there have been at the least 4 explosions within the early hours of Saturday, and the flames unfold to a second tank.

State media printed footage displaying a Cuban armed forces helicopter attempting to drop water over the flames.

This story was initially printed August 6, 2022 5:27 pm.

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Nora Jamez Torres is the Cuba, United States and Latin American coverage correspondent for the El Nuevo Herald and Miami Herald. She studied journalism, media and communications in Havana and London. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Metropolis College, London. Her work has gained awards from the Florida Society of Information Editors and the Society of Skilled Journalists. // Nora Gámez Torres estudió periodismo y comunicación en La Habana y Londres. Tiene un doctorado en sociología y desde el 2014 cubre temas cubanos para el Nuevo Herald y el Miami Herald. También reporta sobre la politica de Estados Unidos hacia America Latina. Su trabajo ha sido recocido con premios de Florida Society of Information Editors y Society for Skilled Journalists.