From: Associated Press
Published August 11, 2005 12:00 AM

Tank Overheats at Oil Refinery in U.S. Virgin Islands

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands — Officials evacuated several workers at an oil refinery Wednesday after a tank holding a mixture of crude oil and water overheated, producing a large vapor cloud.


No injuries were reported after the morning incident at the Hovensa oil refinery in St. Croix, said Jamal Nielson, a spokesman for the U.S. Caribbean territory's Department of Planning and Natural Resources.


The 11 million-gallon (42 million-liter) tank overheated after hot oil was mixed with water inside, sending a large vapor cloud into the sky, said Alex Moorhead, a refinery spokesman.


Officials closed off the area around the tank and evacuated an unknown number of workers to another part of the refinery, the Western Hemisphere's second largest, Nielson said.


Tests of the air around the refinery showed no signs of contamination, Nielson said.


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The Environmental Protection Agency and local officials plan to inspect the tank and review the refinery's safety record, Nielson said.


Hovensa, co-owned by New York-based Amerada Hess Corporation and Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of Venezuela, is situated on St. Croix's southern coast in the U.S. Caribbean territory of 110,000.


Source: Associated Press


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