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Peru demands compensation from the Spanish Repsol for a disastrous oil spill | Peru

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Peru has sought compensation from Spanish oil giant Repsol after freak waves from a volcanic eruption near Tonga caused an oil spill described as the worst environmental disaster to hit the South American country in recent history.

Peruvian Prime Minister Mirtha Vásquez told reporters on Wednesday that the Repsol-run Pampilla refinery “apparently” had no contingency plan in the event of an oil spill.

The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called to the company to “immediately compensate” the damage caused by the oil spill on Saturday which had inflicted “serious damage on hundreds of fishing families” and had “endangered the fauna and flora” in two protected natural areas .

Authorities cordoned off three beaches on Monday after 6,000 barrels of oil spilled while unloading a tanker at the La Pampilla refinery off the coast near Lima, just north of the capital Lima.

Footage circulating on social media and television showed blackened beaches and dozens of oil-soaked dead seabirds, including the rare Humboldt penguin, in an area considered a marine biodiversity hotspot.

Officials at the refinery, run by Repsol, initially described the spill as “limited” and said it was working with authorities to clean up beaches.

However, the public was outraged by what was seen as the company’s belated response.

Repsol spokesman Tine Van Den Wall Bake denied he should accept responsibility for the incident.

“We did not cause this ecological disaster and we cannot say who is responsible,” she told national radio on Wednesday.

Environmental groups have criticized the company’s response, as well as that of Peruvian authorities. The oil was spreading along Peru’s Pacific coast, affecting seabirds, gulls, terns, sea lions, otters and dolphins, Oceana Peru said in a statement. Tweeter.

“The environmental and social impacts of the Repsol oil spill in the short and long term are devastating, and the company’s response has been weak,” said Christel Scheske, conservation specialist for the Peruvian Society for the Right to the environment.

“The oil spill affected a very biodiverse part of the Peruvian coast, including two protected areas that are important not only for Peru’s amazing marine biodiversity, but also for the more than 1,000 artisanal fishermen in the region who depend,” she said.

“Heavy metals from crude oil will remain in the ecosystem for many years, rendering fish, molluscs and other marine species unsafe for human consumption and affecting the entire marine food web,” Scheske added.

The refinery could face a fine of up to $34.5 million, Peru’s environment ministry said on Monday as prosecutors opened an investigation into the company for environmental contamination.

In a tweet, the attorney general’s office said the spill “is the worst ecological disaster in Lima in recent times and has caused serious damage to hundreds of fishing families. Repsol must repair this damage immediately.

Energy and mining regulator Osinergmin ordered a suspension of refinery operations pending an investigation into the causes of the spill.

Peru demands compensation from the Spanish Repsol for a disastrous oil spill | Peru

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