Madagascar oil tanker delay sparks scramble for fuel

The delay of a Madagascar-bound oil tanker has led to fuel and electricity shortages in the capital after people rushed to stock up at petrol stations, draining supplies by Thursday, the government said.
Several service stations were left empty in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar — an island-nation of 26 million people entirely reliant on fuel imports.
The government said the shortage was caused by people hoarding fuel after it was announced that an oil tanker expected on October 15 was delayed.
“This psychosis created an over-consumption of fuel, which led to the depletion of certain (petrol) stations,” said energy minister, Vonjy Andriamanga earlier this week.
Madagascar’s national oil board has called for calm, saying that Antananarivo had enough fuel to last at least until Friday when the tanker — bound for a refinery in Tamatave on Madagascar’s east coast — was expected to arrive.
Residents nevertheless formed long queues at the stations that remained open, anxious to fill up their jerry cans.
“I have come here after searching in vain for some fuel elsewhere,” said mechanic Fanomezantsoa Rakotondramanana, pushing his motorbike.
“But now they have just told me there is nothing here either,” he told AFP.
The fuel shortage has ground traffic to a halt and caused power cuts, as 75 percent of Madagascar’s electricity is generated by oil-fired power plants.
State-owned electric utility Jirama apologised for the inconvenience on Thursday, saying the blackouts were caused by “insufficient fuel supplies”.
Meanwhile, the government has banned petrol stations from selling more than the equivalent of 12 euros ($13) worth — or 12 litres — of fuel per customer.
© Agence France-Presse
Source: Seychelles News Agency