Massive fire engulfs oil tanker in Gulf of Mexico (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)
A massive fire that erupted on an oil tanker in the Gulf of Mexico forced 31 crew members to evacuate the state owned Pemex vessel, with emergency services continuing with efforts to extinguish the blaze.
The fire broke out on the Burgos tanker on Saturday as a result of an explosion, the cause of which is unknown, and engulfed the vessel, sending dark clouds of smoke into the air.
Lo más probable es que el buque #Burgos. Propiedad de Pemex se hunda.— Héctor Rojas (@Cordobes_01) September 25, 2016
Con la inmensa contaminación del arrecife pic.twitter.com/wMDyYvHXMu
The tanker was carrying 80,000 barrels of diesel, 71,000 of gasoline and 16,000 barrels of desulfurized gasoline, according to Mexico’s communications and transport ministry. It has a capacity to carry 270,000 barrels.
Burgos was about eight miles off the coast of Boca del Rio in Veracruz, where it remains, according to Marine Traffic.
Pemex luta para apagar incêndio em petroleiro no Golfo do México. https://t.co/Wu4uTEfWSDpic.twitter.com/yhb0kiFmQ8— Wallace Vitor (@wlvitor) September 25, 2016
Pemex tweeted the crew had all made it back to shore on Saturday and maintains that there is no safety risk to the local population.
Mexican navy ships arrived at the scene and barriers were placed around the vessel in case an oil spill occurred.
El incendio del buque Burgos esta mañana de sábado frente a las costas de Veracruz pic.twitter.com/ZkW7Za8WZZ— Luz María Rivera (@DiccionarioALaD) September 24, 2016
According to reports, some fuel spilled into the sea but there is no risk of contamination “because they are light fuels.”
“It’s not crude, it’s not going to the bottom of the sea, it stays on the surface,”said Juan Ignacio Fernandez Carvajal of the Veracruz Port Authority.
TR @Cordobes_01 Most likely that the ship #Burgos in #Pemex property sinks. Causing immense pollution on the reef pic.twitter.com/61K2zRpq1J— (((Die_Primel))) (@Die_Primel) September 25, 2016
Fernandez Caravajal said they were working to control the fire on Saturday night, and the tanker could still sink. “But it’s what we’re trying to avoid. We’re attacking that risk,” he said.
According to Informador, control operations to quash such fires can take up to 48 hours and will determine whether the ship can be towed.
Aspectos del incendio y posterior hundimiento del buque de @Pemex en #Veracruz#BocadelRío, #Méxicopic.twitter.com/8FQLc3Psv9— VALERA NEWS (@VALERAnews) September 25, 2016
The company has suffered bad luck recently, with budget cuts and losses affecting revenue. In April, more than 30 died in a blast at a petrochemical plant owned by Pemex and another company in Veracruz.
In 2013, 37 died in a blast at the company’s Mexico City headquarters.