Peru's Environment Minister Rubén Ramírez Friday denounced the amount of crude oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean was almost twice as much as the amount reported so far.
We have a figure so far of 11,900 barrels dumped into the sea on January 15, Ramírez said. Initial reports spoke of around 6,000 barrels had been leaked into the sea Jan. 15.
The minister's statement came hours after a Peruvian court barred four directors of the Spanish oil company Repsol from leaving the country for 18 months, pending the inquiry into the spill that occurred when the tanker Mare Doricum was unloading at the La Pampilla refinery, 30 kilometers north of Lima. The company had blamed the volcanic eruption in Tonga for the incident.
Deputy Environment Minister Alfredo Mamani also confirmed Friday that there are already 4,225 barrels recovered from the sea and the beaches. The black oil stain has been dragged by sea currents about 140 km north of the refinery, causing the death of an undetermined number of fish and seabirds.
Meanwhile Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Roberto Sánchez said authorities were concerned over the true amount of crude oil spilled.The official also admitted authorities were evaluatind suspending the refinery's license.
“Just as justice is about to pronounce an exit impediment against the manager and the entire board of directors of the La Pampilla refinery, the State will also be evaluating the suspension of the license. You have to go to all the instances so that this does not remain as another story, Sánchez said in a TV interview.
He also said a decision was to be made by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers in the next few hours.
We are coordinating with several ministries to see how a single action can be articulated, he went on.
In Sánchez's view, Repsol was hiding behind an international campaign that misinforms after claiming the spill was due to abnormal waves, when the captain of the Mare Doricum ship, Giacomo Pisani, has said that the ship never moved; it is a negligence that must be verified and it is something that we await as an international community and a country.”
Meanwhile, a group of environmentalists has taken action to rescue and protect animals who survived the spill.
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