Cameroon petrol pumps overwhelmed after weather disrupts fuel deliveries

YAOUNDE (Reuters) – Stormy weather off the West African coast has stranded vessels and disrupted fuel deliveries to Cameroon, the energy minister said, leading to days of shortages that have caused long queues at petrol stations in several cities.

Car and motorcycle drivers waited hours to fill their tanks in the main cities of Yaounde, Douala and Bafoussam on Tuesday. Several pumps had run dry since fuel shortages started last week, while others have been overwhelmed with customers.

“I didn’t work the whole of yesterday,” said Bertrand Ndinwa, a flustered motorcycle taxi driver who had spent most of the previous night searching for fuel in Yaounde.

When he eventually found some at 3 a.m., he was only allowed to buy four liters and ran dry again after a few rides, he said.

Energy Minister Gaston Eloundou Essomba said the weather had disrupted ship-to-ship loading of fuel at the regional hub port of Lome, the capital of Togo, during four days last week.

He said the situation should be resolved by Tuesday.

Cameroon’s main supplier of petroleum products, the Cameroon Petroleum Depots Co, said ships had since docked at the port city of Douala, gradually bringing supply levels back to normal.

But in Yaounde, ice-cream maker Ethel Ossono was still waiting for fuel to run the generator that protects her business from power cuts.

“If the situation persists, I will incur losses,” she said.

(Reporting by Amindeh Blaise Atabong; Editing by Sofia Christensen and David Gregorio)