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Castillo in Peru declares major oil leak an environmental emergency

Castillo in Peru declares major oil leak an environmental emergency

LIMA, Jan 20, (Reuters) – Peruvian President Pedro Castillo declared a state of emergency Thursday after rogue waves sank a ship carrying crude oil from the country’s largest refinery.

The unusual swells from a volcanic eruption thousands miles away in Tonga on Sunday caused the spillage. Dead birds and seals were washed up on beaches and waters along Peru’s Pacific coast.

Castillo said that “we are at an important moment in environmental issues” before signing the emergency declaration on one of the beaches that was affected by the disaster. “This is the most alarming ecological disaster to hit the Peruvian coast in recent years.”

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He said, “We cannot avoid taking responsibility, it is about accepting them, in this instance the company that caused this environmental disaster.”

Repsol (REP.MC), Spanish energy firm, spokeswoman for La Pampilla refinery. She said that the firm was not responsible and blamed Peruvian Navy for failing to issue a tsunami warning after Tonga’s eruption.

Peruvian authorities were the only ones to warn of unusual waves, and this was unlike other Pacific countries.

Ruben Ramirez, Environment Minister has stated that about 6,000 barrels of crude oil were emitted in the incident which left oil on 21 beaches.

Peru’s Agency for Environmental Assessment and Enforcement, (OEFA), said in a statement that the affected area consisted of 1.7 million square meters on land and 1.2million square meters in water.

Repsol stated in a statement that it was investigating underwater damage from the spillage and had deployed more than 2500 meters of containment booms, as well as 10 boats to recover oil.

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Repsol responded to criticism by saying, “We regret not adequately communicating all our commitments as well as the actions taken to address the effect.”

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Reporting by Marco Aquino, Writing by Carolina Pulice, Editing By Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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