Cuba to start drilling near Florida coast

Jan 27, 2012

Oil drilling off the shores of Cuba could begin as early as this weekend, about 60 miles south of Key West. US officials are concerned a blowout could dump oil on Florida’s beaches.Trimmel Gomes reports a congressional field hearing is scheduled in South Florida to assess disaster readiness plans.

Florida Congressman John Mica says when they planned the hearing Monday, they had no idea Cuba would be ready to drill as early as this weekend.

“We are very concerned the waters off of Cuba and between the Straits of Florida move much more rapidly and flow into the Gulf Stream, so we wouldn’t have the containment that we did see in the Gulf.”

A state-of-the-art oil rig called the Scarabeo 9, could go online anytime this week. US officials are scrambling to be a part of and establish a communications alert network with Cuba and other Caribbean nations in the event of a spill. Because of the US embargo, U.S. officials can’t go near the rig while it is in Cuban waters.