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Nicaragua refinery fire causes significant oil pollution

19 August 2016

A massive refinery fire at the Puma Energy facility on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast has contaminated sensitive nearby coastal habitats, according to local reports, with an oil slick contaminating half a square mile of water and soil. The fire, which started on August 17,  consumed the contents of two of the refinery’s four huge fuel tanks at Puerto Sandino, some 70km northwest of the capital Managua.

Stock image
Stock image

Surrounding beaches are home to important nesting grounds for several turtle species, while the coastline nearby produces 12% of Nicaragua’s salt. A huge plume of acrid smoke at one point billowed up to 3km from the disaster scene, but has largely dissipated, local media said.

Puma Energy, a majority Dutch- and Angolan-owned company with headquarters in Switzerland, bought the refinery in 2011. It had previously been run by the US group Exxon.

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