US government takes steps to facilitate fuel transportation by sea after cyberattack

A gas dispensary with the sign “Sorry. We have no gas” in the city of Miami, Florida.

Photo: Latif Kassidi / EFE

WASHINGTON – The federal government approved a temporary waiver to facilitate the arrival of fuel by sea to the east coast of the country, given the supply difficulties due to the cyberattack a week ago against the largest pipeline network in the country.

This was reported this Friday by the White House in a statement, in which he explained that the Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, gave the green light last night to a “temporary and specific” permit so that a second foreign company can send fuel from the sea.

The authorities have not identified either of the two companies that have been granted authorization.

This measure allows exceptions to the so-called Jones Law, which requires that products that are transported between US ports must go on US vessels with crew from the country.

Transportation of gasoline and diesel to affected areas

The permit means that foreign companies can transport gasoline and diesel to those areas affected by fuel shortages after the cyberattack.

Colonial, the company that operates the pipeline network, announced Wednesday that it was resuming operations, but there are still supply difficulties.

That network, some 5,500 miles long (about 8,851 kilometers), carries 45% of the fuel supplies in the east of the country.

Gas stations in 15 states of the country suffer shortages of supplies

According to data from this Friday at 09.33 EST from the application, which tracks fuel demand, prices and availability, there are still gas stations in 15 states in the country, plus the District of Columbia, where the capital Washington, suffered fuel shortages.

The most affected area is the District of Columbia, with 88% of its service stations affected, followed by North Carolina, with 62%; South Carolina, with 50%; Georgia, with 48%, and Maryland, with 42%.

Biden predicted Thursday that the situation would return to normal by the end of this week or the beginning of the next.

On Sunday, Biden lifted restrictions on the transportation of fuel by road in order to avoid any shortages in the face of the closure due to the cyberattack on Colonial.

Democratic and Republican lawmakers presented a legislative proposal on Friday to protect the country’s infrastructure from cyberattacks.

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