Monday, September 25

A Repsol spill in Peru causes “the worst ecological disaster in Lima”

The oil spill released this Saturday into the Pacific Ocean from the Peruvian refinery of La Pampilla due to the tsunami from the volcanic eruption of Tonga has spread over at least four kilometers of beaches and the local authorities demand that the Spanish company Repsol have a greater commitment to Cleaning.

So far, the crude oil spill has affected the flora and fauna of two protected natural areas. Facts that the Foreign Ministry of Peru has described as “the worst ecological disaster that has occurred in Lima in recent times”, placing special emphasis on the “serious damage” that this damage will cause “to hundreds of fishermen’s families.” The Peruvian authorities have asked Repsol from its official Twitter account to compensate “this damage immediately.”

For their part, the company has denied being responsible for the spill and blames the Peruvian government for not giving the tsunami warning as the Chilean and Ecuadorian authorities did. “We were unloading the day before, we called the Navy, we asked for confirmation about the alert on the coast of Peru,” said the Communications Manager of the Repsol company, Tine van den Wall Bake Rodríguez. .

The manager has declared to local media that Repsol “will continue to provide everything that is necessary because Repsol has a commitment to restore the entire coastline to its original state” and they will not “scrimp on anything to work on.”

Despite the fact that the La Pampilla Refinery, operated by Repsol, initially told the Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office that the spill had been about seven gallons of crude oil, it has already affected several beaches and protected natural areas in the municipality of Ventanilla, in the province of Callao, near Lima.

“It has gone from being a small spill to being a disaster of proportions,” the mayor of Ventanilla, Pedro Spadaro, told RPP Noticias on Tuesday while supervising the beaches in his district.

“There are four kilometers of absolutely black sea, there are dead animals that return to the shores, this is an attack against ecology,” Spadaro stressed.

The mayor regretted that Repsol had not made enough efforts to clean the beaches and that the company also did not report the spill to the authorities last Saturday.

“In an irresponsible manner, nothing was communicated to the Municipality or to the police authority. This is serious damage, exposing vacationers,” said Spadaro, who has also asked the Minister of the Environment, Rubén Ramírez, to evaluate the declaration of environmental emergency in the area.

The secretary of the Peru Libre political party, Vladimir Cerrón, has also asked the Government to immediately renegotiate the contract with Repsol, and the executive president of Indecopi (National Institute for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property of the Government of Peru), Julián Palacín Gutiérrez, has called for the company to assume “civil liability for the damage caused to the environment and to consumer citizens.” Palacín has in turn appealed to citizens to exert pressure on the company. “They have the right to have beaches and a healthy environment.”

Repsol claims to have contained the expansion of the spill

After Spadaro’s statements, the La Pampilla Refinery has stated in a statement that “since the start of the incident, it has been carrying out remediation work on the coastal coastline and beach cleaning in the district of Ventanilla.”

The company has detailed that the sea has contained the spill after deploying 1,500 meters of containment barriers, while six boats with crews of 50 people recover the crude with suction pumps and special absorbent material.

Meanwhile, on land, the refinery has assured that it has arranged a group of 200 people divided into crews to clean the oil that reaches the Cavero, Bahía Blanca and Santa Rosa beaches.

Two protected areas affected

The National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State (Sernanp) has reported in a statement that the oil spill has affected the National Reserve System of Islands, Islets and Points Guaneras and Islets of Fishermen and the reserved area of ​​Ancón, a seaside resort in the north of Lima.

The Sernanp deployed a personal brigade to assess the scope of the spill and is currently supporting the rescue and cleaning of contaminated birds, mainly guano species such as the Peruvian pelican or the blue-footed booby.

For its part, the marine environmental organization Oceana has quantified the affected area at 18,000 square kilometers of spilled crude, which is equivalent to two and a half times the surface of the National Stadium in Lima.

The Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation

The Specialized Environmental Prosecutor’s Office of Northwest Lima opened an investigation on Monday for environmental contamination against the La Pampilla Refinery.

Through the Public Ministry, prosecutor Ariel Tapia verified the oil spill due to abnormal waves on the coast of the districts of Santa Rosa and Ancón in Lima, and in Ventanilla in the neighboring province of Callao.

“This fact would have produced maritime contamination and the death of hydrobiological species and birds, the latter in the reserved area of ​​Ancón,” added the prosecutor’s office.

Prosecutor Tapia has declared that the high amount of oil in the sea, which is extracted by suction in polyethylene sleeves, differs from the preliminary information obtained on Sunday by the La Pampilla Refinery, estimated at seven gallons.

There was no tsunami warning in Peru

The environmental accident occurred on Saturday, when a ship was unloading oil at the precise moment that the tsunami wave caused by the volcanic eruption in Tonga hit the Peruvian coast, which raised the sea level. up to 70 centimeters at some points.

Despite the fact that the authorities in Ecuador and Chile warned of the tsunami, Peru only announced the arrival of “anomalous waves” on Saturday night, when the death of two women dragged by the sea had already been detected.