By MARK LORENZANA
Even as 10 miners remain trapped in a collapsed mine in the Mexican state of Coahuila, the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has been reportedly paying 500,000 pesos a day for the aid — in the form of a firefighting ship — that it has provided Cuba to help the island nation extinguish a massive crude oil fire that started in the early-morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 7.
The five-day oil blaze has since been brought under control. Explosions and flames injured 171 people and killed one, with 17 individuals still reported missing.
According to a report by Mexican daily newspaper Reforma on Thursday, Aug. 11, state-run oil giant Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) sent the Bourbon Artabaze ship to Cuba, which provides security and fire protection services, as well as the collection of spilled hydrocarbons in Pemex’s marine facilities.
Meanwhile, the diving team of the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) has managed to breach one of the walls of the collapsed El Pinabete mine in Coahuila. However, the team has yet to locate the 10 trapped miners.
This was confirmed by Secretary of Defense General Luis Cresencio Sandoval, in his report on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 11, during the daily press conference of López Obrador at the National Palace.
For her part, Laura Velázquez, national coordinator of Civil Protection, assured that rescuers and elements of both the Mexican Army and the Mexican Navy have worked for 183 hours nonstop in the aim of locating the trapped workers.
However, given the circumstances of the flooded mine, at this point most experts have considered this stage of the operations as a recovery, and not a rescue.