Photo: Juan Carlos Dorado

CIENFUEGOS.-As part of an intense work program launched this Wednesday in the city dubbed the Pearl of the South, in order to examine the responses to the damages caused by Subtropical Storm Alberto, the Cuban First Vice President Salvador Valdés Mesa visited the Camilo Cienfuegos Oil Refinery.

Treatment ponds at the refinery overflowed following the recent heavy rains in the area, causing a spill of 12,000 cubic meters of oily water into the Bay of Cienfuegos.

The Director of the plant, engineer Hermenegildo Montalvo Ibarra, explained: “The speed of the waters flowing from the Jagua Bay canyon completely washed away the pollutant and today the roadstead has an oil concentration of between sixty and seventy percent in almost all its areas.”

He added that various actions are being uninterruptedly deployed in order to mitigate the impact, based on the combination of several collection techniques. The refinery will receive support from other companies in the cleaning of the estuary; as well as 1,500 meters of Cupet (Cuban Petroleum Union) barriers, which join a similar number in existence at the plant.

Barriers have already been placed around the Marina Marling and Club Cienfuegos, to begin cleaning their maritime areas, the director added.

Valdés Mesa asked for details on the process at this site, where he stressed the need to strengthen all preventive measures in the face of new hydrological events.

He also noted the preventative measures to be implemented to minimize the impact on agriculture, making specific reference to the Horquita Agricultural Enterprise, which he visited alongside Deputy Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, and head of the Central Strategic Region, Army Corps General Joaquín Quintas Solá, and Lydia Esther Brunet-Nodarse, member of the Central Committee and first Party secretary in Cienfuegos.

Valdés Mesa also presided an evaluative meeting in the Party Provincial Committee, where he issued various guidelines on the return to normality after the recovery work stage.