Peru demands Spain’s Repsol pay for oil spill damage
Peru demanded compensation Wednesday from Spanish energy giant Repsol over an oil spill caused by freak waves from a volcanic eruption near Tonga in the South Pacific.
Authorities sealed off three beaches on Monday after 6,000 barrels of oil were spilled during the offloading of a tanker at the Pampilla refinery off the coast near Lima.
The Repsol oil spill “is the worst ecological disaster in Lima in recent times, and has caused serious damage to hundreds of fishing families. Repsol must immediately compensate for this damage,” the attorney general’s office said on Twitter.
“This terrible situation has put at risk flora and fauna in two protected areas.”
Peruvian authorities found dead marine animals covered in oil.
The spill happened on Saturday at the refinery off the town of Ventanilla in the Lima region, affecting a three-kilometer stretch of beaches.
Refinery officials originally described the spill as “limited” and said it was working with authorities to clean up the beaches.
“Containment barriers that cover all of the affected zones and brigades with specialist sea and land teams have been deployed,” said the refinery, which blamed the spill on the freak waves caused by the volcanic eruption more than 10,000 kilometers away.
The refinery could face a fine of up to $34.5 million, the environment ministry said on Monday as prosecutors opened an investigation into the company for environmental contamination.
On Tuesday, the energy and mining regulation body Osinergmin ordered the suspension of operations at the refinery pending an investigation into the causes of the spill.