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A ship waits for permission to deliver thousands of barrels of diesel in Puerto Rico

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At a time when the need for diesel is spreading among the hundreds of thousands of people who remain without electricity after the hurricane fionaa ship with thousands of barrels of that fuel has not been able to dock since yesterday, Sunday, to deliver it.

The executive director of the Port Authority, Joel Pizaconfirmed last night through his Twitter account that the ship is waiting south of the coast of Puerto Rico and that the ship needs authorization from the federal government to enter the port in penuelas.

In interview with The new day This morning, the official explained that the foreign-flagged ship was sent by the British Petroleum (BP) company in Texas to the local supplier Peerless Oil & Chemicals, in Peñuelas, while he has not received a response to a request from the Department of Homeland Security of the United States (DHS, for its acronym in English) for a waiver of the requirements of the Jones Act.

He pointed out that it is usual for foreign-flagged ships to come to Puerto Rico, but the Jones Act allows them to arrive only when they come directly from foreign ports.

Pizá explained that federal law provides that, if they come from a port in the United States, the ship must be under the American flag, as in this case because it comes from Texas.

According to the official, BP regularly sends its US-flagged ships to comply with regulations, such as one expected later this week, but he doesn’t know why they sent a foreign-flagged one from that origin this time.

“The way this ship arrived in Puerto Rico has been very eventful,” Pizá said. “I would say it has been run over and speculative. We were notified when she arrived at 5:00 pm on a Sunday. They had not notified the Coast Guard, as required.”

“Essentially, it would be characterized as irresponsible to send the ship like this, without the Jones Act waiver,” added the official, who also denounced the pressure imposed by the company by indicating that they would wait 36 ​​to 48 hours or the ship would leave.

The executive director of Ports pointed out that BP allegedly requested the waiver “since Tuesday, as they informed the terminal operator” and that then “they decided to send the ship confident that they were going to grant it.”

However, Pizá indicated that “although we denounce the irresponsible lack of coordination, since the people come first, we will support any request before the DHS (United States Department of Homeland Security) to support that they can be downloaded here the fuel”.

“During today we are going to continue with the affirmative actions with the federal government so that those 300,000 barrels can stay here, due to the need that exists,” he added.

The need for diesel on the island has intensified due to the number of citizens and institutions that have turned to this fuel for electricity generators, given the slow pace in restoring service by LUMAEnergy.

Although the government has assured that diesel fuel is not lacking, it has admitted that there has been a “dislocation” in distribution due to delays in dispatch after the passage of the hurricane, particularly in Yabucoa, where the port was without electricity for more than a year. day.

The new day knows of homes where dozens of elderly people live who have had to juggle to get diesel, while multiple gas stations have posted signs warning that they no longer have that fuel.

Since last week, cases have been reported, such as supermarkets and department stores, which have had to close their operations due to lack of diesel for their generators.

Although the electricity transmission and distribution network did not suffer catastrophic damage as a result of Hurricane Fiona, LUMA projected yesterday that, in the best scenario, the percentage of customers with service restored when this week ends would be between 77% and 91%.

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