Peru declares emergency following tanker spill


Workers clean oil off rocks along the Peruvian coast following a tanker-offloading accident that sent thousands of barrels of light crude into the ocean at the port city of Callao. (Photo by Luisenrrique Becerra Velarde)

Peru declared an environmental emergency on Jan. 21, six days after an oil spill from a tanker offloading at a refinery fouled at least 44 kilometers (27 miles) of the country’s central coastline. Officials said they could fine the Peruvian subsidiary of the Spanish oil company Repsol, which operates the La Pampilla refinery in Callao, the seaport adjacent to Lima, Peru’s capital. Repsol executives avoided taking responsibility for the Jan. 15 spill, saying a pipe broke when an unusually high wave created by the eruption of an undersea volcano in Tonga caused the Italian-flagged tanker to lurch. The tanker captain, however, told government ministers that the sea was calm. The company initially reported that less than a barrel of oil had spilled in the accident, but three days later it put the figure at 6,000 and then revised it further upward, to 11,900 barrels, on Jan. 28. Government officials... [Log in to read more]

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