Peru's Foreign Ministry Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Spanish oil company Repsol for damages caused by a spill in Ventanilla, in the province Callao province.
“The Repsol oil spill in Ventanilla is the worst ecological disaster that has occurred in Lima in recent times and has caused serious damage to hundreds of fishermen's families. Repsol must compensate this damage immediately,” the Foreign Ministry said on Twitter. It also pointed out that this situation has endangered the ecosystem of protected areas.
The incident occurred on Jan. 15 when a ship leaving the La Pampilla refinery (managed by Repsol) spilled an amount of crude estimated to be around 6,000 barrels off the coastal strip of the Callao region near Lima. The spill has affected the sea in the vicinity of the Peruvian capital.
Following the spill, Peruvian authorities have ordered the suspension of all activities at the refinery until the cause of the incident is determined, while the Prosecutor's Office has already launched an inquiry for the alleged crime of environmental pollution.
The spill has affected about 18,000 square meters of the sea.
Peru's Prime Minister Mirtha Vásquez said Repsol apparently did not have a contingency plan, which would prove the company lacked the capacity to react after the spill and that the Spanish consortium was just going to hire a company to carry out the remediation.
”They are just talking about hiring a company so that it can do cleaning, remediation, and, of course, there were no concrete measures that could be taken at that time, and four days have passed and the disaster continues to spread due to the lack of a contingency plan,” said Vásquez.
Repsol's Communications Manager Tine Van den Wall Bake Rodríguez has said that the company had not caused the spill and it was also unable to single out who did.
The company official explained that they had been carrying out the unloading since the previous day, and asked the Navy if there was an alert on the Peruvian coast, in reference to the strong waves unleashed by the volcanic eruption in Tonga.
Two people have died in Peru when their car was dragged into the ocean by high waves resulting from the volcanic eruption, which has had repercussions all throughout the Pacific.