Sol avoids admitting safety breaches

| 11/04/2018 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

Fire crews douse the fuel tank on fire, 23 July 2017

(CNS): Bulk fuel supplier, Sol, has released another statement in the wake of a damning report by the utilities regulator regarding the fire at the Jackson Point fuel depot last year. However, Sol has yet to admit any responsibility in the events that led up to the dangerous incident, which could have been catastrophic. In the statement, Sol Petroleum Cayman Ltd claimed it had been committed to safety for over 58 years, saying that it had and would continue to cooperate with the Utility Regulation and Competition Office (OfReg), but the company has not yet said whether it will be embracing the findings and recommendations of the report.

OfReg’s review of the fire, which was released on Friday, found that it ignited following welding repair works conducted the day before inside a storage tank, which was in service and had more than half a million gallons of diesel in it.

The regulator stated that the fuel company was responsible: “Sol, through its employees and agents, did not take all reasonable precautions for the prevention of the fire.”

In its latest comment about the review, Sol said as it conducted its own review of the regulator’s report, it was committed to working with OfReg to maintain an environment where safety was at the forefront of activities.

Sol stated, “For over 58 years here in Grand Cayman, we have been a leader in our industry and have cultivated a safe work environment in which no employee has experienced a Lost Time Injury,” the management said. “Sol reaffirms its pledge to ensure safe working practices and values are maintained throughout our organisation and all Sol employees and contractors share in this commitment. Serving the people of Cayman Islands is at the core of everything we do at Sol and we will work with the OfReg as we continually improve our standards and protocols in accordance with industry best practice and OfReg’s recommendations.”

The firm said it would be issuing further public statements but made no indication that it was accepting any liability for the blaze, which caused the evacuation of the area and saw firefighters battle the flames for more than eight hours in very dangerous conditions.

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Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “Hazard Prevention – Fires & Explosions” presentation. A picture(s) is worth a thousand words. See for yourself how it would’ve looked.

    >Buncefield explosion(England)
    >Kansas City Magellan Fire, June 2008
    >Caribbean Petroleum, Puerto Rico, United States, October 23-25, 2009 fire
    >Jaipur, India, October 29-November 6, 2009, Indian Oil Corporation fire
    >Miami International Airport Tank Farm fire, Florida, March 27, 2011
    >Chevron Refinery in Richmond, California fire From piping corrosion– August 11, 2012
    >Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. Amauy Refinery, Amauy, Venezuela – August 25, 2012

    • Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

      Exactly 11.35. and right next to that oil bunkering facility is a leading dive tourism hotel, a residential area, AND, offshore a major part of Cayman’s pristine marine environment! It is incredible that Sol has been so absurdly lacking in safety practice as to have something so STUPID endanger lives and our marine environment. This should trigger serious long term planning to remove that bunkering facility to a more remote and safer location, hopefully further inland and away from our marine environment.

      • Edward Glass says:

        One thing sol is not stupid we have work for Sol many years and they have a good safety program

  2. Anonymous says:

    Click on the link below to see how it could’ve looked. Actually much worse since GC fuel storage is located in the middle of densely populated residential area.

    Buncefield explosion and fire Incident (England)

    Civil liability: A total of 2,700 claims were filed by residents, businesses and insurers.

    Criminal liability: In April 2010 the five companies accused of causing the explosion faced a criminal prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency. Two defendants, Total UK and British Pipeline Agency Limited, had already pleaded guilty to offenses under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The remaining three, Hertfordshire Oil Storage Ltd, TAV Engineering Ltd, and Motherwell Control Systems were found guilty in June 2010.

    • Anonymous says:

      Though in Absurdistan, there would be no-one paying any civil damages and the company owners would walk away scot free.

  3. West Bay Premier says:

    This oil Company SOL should be made to pay all expenses that was caused due to SOL negligence , without repercussions from SOL to the consumers . I think if OFReg don’t protect the public in what ever they do , SOL would pass it right on to the consumer . So I believe that some Citizens group needs to be the watchdogs , that watch the watch dog in this matter .

    I believe that if that tank that needed welding contained gasoline they would have tried to do the welding on it , then that would’ve been catastrophic . So when Adults do this kind of thing , I don’t put much confidence in them going forward , then I must take all necessary measures to prevent anything else from happening in the future .

  4. Anonymous says:

    Just a cultural misunderstanding. What can you do?

  5. SSM345 says:

    When the worst result means blowing up at least 1/4 of the island who would admit to anything; not the select, that’s for sure. Next up; 100% annihilation from 2 concrete fingers that look like a FU from space.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ah, the National Sport…no one’s guilty, it was the circumstances…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Will heads roll. This is the private sector. Yeah right. At least in the civil service someone would have been suspended and fired.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think you mean, ” At least someone will be put on required leave (while on full salary and benefits) for periods often exceeding 5 years”, no doubt while continuing to earn retirement benefits. Oh wait, I get it, Sarcasm!

    • SSM345 says:

      If this was the Civil Service they would have been transferred to Esso whilst on full pay from Rubis before being found not guilty because the fault of metal breaking is considered an “Act of God”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why hasn’t someone been held accountable. Come on private sector we claim to be the standard in dealing with poor performance. I keep saying that the private sector is getting worse and the civil service is getting better. I should know I work in the private sector. Poor managers, nepotism galore for overseas friends, no training in 10 years and crappy bonuses for the people doing the hard work.

        I never thought I would say this but civil service here I come.

  8. Just a quick comment re this story.Seems to me that our Inspectors should do what we used to have in the Bank when I worked there have surprise inspections.No advanced warnings just walk in and do your thing.If advanced notice is given that they(inspectors)are coming they can get their act together and that only puts a band aid on the whole problem.Just my two cents worth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree Peter, but they might find something they’d have to follow up on. That’s too much like work. Instead the don’t rock the boat approach has served them well for years.

  9. SPOTLIGHT says:

    Dear DPP

    FINE THEM and consider bringing charges for corporate malfeasance or public endangerment or negligence do something. Start by making an example of local management decisions.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sol is going to be S.O.L. soon.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Why are they allowed to hide behind others safety record? Sol have not been here for 58 years. What a load of PS.

    • West Bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 1:30 pm , they were talking about the 58 years safety of the tanks , not the Company 58 years of safety .

  12. Anonymous says:

    WELL WELL WELL. Is this any surprise to anyone? If anyone believes what they are saying, they must be idiots. They are just trying to protect themselves. How about them protecting us citizens who had to flee due to the fire hazard (mandatory evacuation) and our rights and our safety so as to escape being hurt or dead! Of course they are going to change their actions of non-admittance. That is normal procedure with large firms and their lawyers.I think that we the citizens who had to evacuate the are for over 12 hours, should get together again at the South Sound Hall and agree to do something about this asinine statement by Sol management trying to look squeaky clean. Where is our Government in all this? What are they saying about it?

    • West Bay Premier says:

      Anonymous 12:34 pm , i agree with you 100% , hold SOL feet to the fire . The Politicians have to be forced to do something , cause they don’t want to disrupt the campaign donations outlet .

  13. Anonymous says:

    Well ain’t that a huge surprise – obviously been “lawyering up” in anticipation of legal actions against them for damages, and to keep their insurance company happy

    • Anonymous says:

      Keep their insurance company happy????? Obviously their insurance company has not seen the tourist submarine come up in the berth to load and offload passengers when a fuel tanker is discharging. No where else on earth……..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Resting on their laurels recently despite claiming to be accident free for 58 years. A false claim since they were essentially self regulated prior to 1990. The Water Authority had the responsibility for seeing that groundwater wasn’t contaminated around that time. I recall an incident in the late 90s where groundwater at the then Esso terminal was contaminated beneath the ironshore. Other incidents/accidents may well have been hidden from public knowledge as there was no Petroleum Inspectorate till around 2002.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Whether or not they acknowledge fault should not prevent government from sending them an invoice based on time their employees spent on this incident plus a huge fine for negligence and compensation to the people in the area who had to leave home and check in to hotels. They might have a good track record for over 58 years but that incident last year could have erase that good record as well as wrecking havoc in that entire area. SOL might, as stated, have this awesome good record but what about the people they contract to carry out these projects like welding a tank containing over half a million gallons of diesel.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Remember, just because you got caught out doesn’t mean it’s not the only time breaches have happened. It’s just the only one that caused this large of an issue.
    I do not believe that this is the only time they have not followed protocol among other safety measures being ignored.
    How stupid does Sol think we are?

  17. West Bay Premier says:

    Didn’t ESSO or TEXACO own those tanks up untill the 1980’s ? So how can SOL make the claim of 58 years in Cayman?

  18. fairplay says:

    Sol did pay hotel expenses for all those local residents who had to leave their homes at very short notice and had to stay away from their homes overnight, so despite including 2 pages of disclaimers that the claimants had to sign before they got their money, this was a de facto acknowledgement of responsibility for this serious incident.

  19. West Bay Premier says:

    How can SOL be committed to safety, when they allowed a man to do welding on their diesel tank containing more than a half million gallons of diesel fuel . I have to believe that SOL don’t know what safety is . Then they have 58 years of safety , where ? They’re not showing it in the Cayman Islands. Did anyone check that 58 years safety record before they invested in Cayman?

  20. Anonymous says:

    A hefty fine should keep them in check.


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