By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – For the sixth day, firefighters in Santos are combating a fire that has engulfed a fuel storage terminal at the Santos Port, one of Latin America’s largest ports. The fire has already consumed at least six tanks of gasoline and ethanol fuel from the Ultracargo terminal since it started on Thursday morning, April 2nd.
Port authorities announced today that they were restricting truck access to the right side of the port until at least Friday, April 10th.
Truckers going to the ports are being stopped on the highway and told to turn back as the Santos fire brigade uses seawater from the Santos Channel to help put out the flames. More than 110 firefighters have been battling the fires for the past one hundred hours. Authorities have said the cause of the fire is not yet known and that there were no casualties from the explosion of the fuel tanks.
Trucks going to the ‘left’ side of the port and those carrying perishable goods will be escorted into the port area by federal police. The fire has also led to the suspension of fuel supply to the ships docked at the port, according to Williams Maritime agency.
The restricted area is home to container terminals as well as sugar terminals operated by Copersucar and Cosan. These, however, should not be significantly affected, since Brazil’s sugar exports are usually at their peak between the months of May and September.
Ultracargo is Brazil’s largest liquid bulk storage company, transporting chemical products, fuel, vegetable oils, ethanol and corrosives. At the Santos Port it has 175 tanks and can store up to 301,300 cubic meters of products.