An oil spill tars the beaches of Peru

Lima, Peru: Peru declared an environmental emergency on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as an oil spill caused by freak waves from a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific continues to spread.

With the 90-day decree, the government said it planned “sustainable management” of 21 beaches tarred by 6,000 barrels of oil that spilled from a tanker unloading at a refinery last Saturday.

One of the objectives of the decree is to better organize the various agencies and teams working in the aftermath of the disaster, the environment ministry said.

The spill followed last Saturday’s incredibly powerful eruption of an undersea volcano near the nation of Tonga, triggering tsunami waves in the Pacific and as far away as the United States.

In Peru, the oil spill near Lima stained beaches, killed birds and harmed the fishing and tourism industries. The government is claiming damages from the Spanish energy giant Repsol, owner of the refinery.

The Environment Ministry said 174 hectares – the equivalent of 270 football pitches – of sea, beaches and nature reserves were affected by the spill. Crews have been working for days to clean up the spill. But the ministry said it had issued the emergency decree now because the crude oil still in the water continues to spill and has now reached 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the site of the original spill.

In declaring the emergency on Saturday, the Environment Ministry said “the spill amounts to a sudden event with a significant impact on the coastal marine ecosystem, which has a high biological diversity”. He said that in the short term, Repsol is responsible for emergency clean-up operations. Its refinery is in the town of Ventanilla near Lima.

Repsol said the spill happened because of freak waves caused by the blowout in the Pacific. The company argues that it is not responsible for the spill, however, as it claims the government gave no warning that there could be rough waters from this submarine. explode on the other side of the world.

On Saturday, Repsol released a statement describing the clean-up operation by 1,350 people using large trucks, skimmers, floating containment barriers and other equipment. Repsol said it was “making every effort to remedy the spill”.

“Last week, fishermen and other locals who live off the sea and tourism staged protests against the sudden loss of their livelihoods.

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