How Peru Plans to Deal With the Worst Ecological Disaster

Peru and Repsol

Several days ago, an underwater volcano erupted in Tonga. Unfortunately, the eruption caused strong waves and currents in many places, including Peru. The country demanded compensation from the Spanish oil giant Repsol after waves from a volcanic eruption in Tonga caused an oil spill described as the worst ecological disaster to hit Peru in recent history.

The country’s prime minister, Mirtha Vásquez expressed her position regarding the topic. She told journalists on Wednesday that the Pampilla refinery, run by Repsol, “apparently” did not have a contingency plan for an oil spill.

Peru’s foreign ministry called on Repsol to immediately compensate for the damage caused by the spill on Saturday. Moreover, the ministry stated that the spill affected many people. In fact, it had “put in danger the flora and fauna” in two protected natural areas. 

Peru and Repsol 

Authorities in Peru cordoned off three beaches on Monday after 6,000 barrels of oil were spilled during the offloading of a tanker at La Pampilla refinery of the coast near Lima, just north of the capital Lima.

Images on social media as well as the TV showed blackened beaches and dozens of dead seabirds drenched in oil. Representatives of the Pampilla refinery initially described the spill as “limited” and said it was working with authorities to clean up the beaches. 

Repsol’s spokesperson Tine Van Den Wall Bake denied Repsol should accept responsibility for the incident. On Wednesday, she told national radio that Repsol did not cause this ecological disaster. 

Environmental groups criticized Repsol and the government of Peru. Oceana Peru’s tweet highlights the severity of the problem. The oil was spreading along the country’s Pacific. As a result, the incident affected sea lions, seagulls, and others according to Oceana Peru. 

Pampilla refinery could face a fine of up to $34.5 million, the country’s environment ministry said three days ago. 

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