Peruvian authorities Monday ordered Spanish oil company Repsol to stop loading and unloading crude oil on ships after a spill in January has caused a major environmental crisis in the Pacific Ocean off the province of Callao near Lima.
The Government has instructed Repsol to refrain from loading and unloading of hydrocarbons on ships, Environment Minister Rubén Ramírez announced Monday. The suspension of loading and unloading of hydrocarbons in the Peruvian sea by the operator Repsol has been ordered, Ramírez said at a press conference.
The minister also explained the company would not be able to resume these activities until technical guarantees are provided that no other damage will occur in the Peruvian sea.
The Jan. 15 spill has been described as an ecological disaster by the Peruvian government. The incident took place when the Italian-flagged tanker Mare Doricum was unloading at Repsol's La Pampilla refinery in Ventanilla, 30 km north of Lima. The Spanish company claimed the leak was due to a wobbly sea from the volcanic eruption in Tonga.
The black oil stain was dragged north by sea currents up to 140 km from the refinery, according to prosecutors, causing the death of an undetermined number of fish, birds and marine mammals. It also affected the work of hundreds of fishermen.
Peru's judiciary has already banned four Repsol directors (one Spanish and three Peruvian nationals) from leaving the country for 18 months and ordered the seizure of the tanker involved, which has remained six miles from the port of Callao.
The company has not presented clear cleanup or remediation actions in the face of what has already happened, Ramírez also pointed out.
Repsol said Monday in a statement that it uses the most advanced satellite technology and artificial intelligence tools to monitor the progress of the cleaning work.