The Bishops Conference of Peru calls for measures to mitigate the enormous environmental impact of an oil leakage that caused thousands of barrels worth of crude oil to be released into the seas off Peru’s coast.
By Benedict Mayaki SJ
The Bishops in Peru have stressed the importance of swift action to repair the environmental damage caused earlier this month by an oil spillage off Peru’s coast.
The 15 January oil spillage involved over 6,000 barrels of crude oil. It occurred when a tanker carrying crude oil to the La Pampilla Refinery was unloaded by strong waves. This was caused thousands of miles away by a powerful volcanic eruption in Tonga.
The oil was ejected into the waters around the Ventanilla district to the north of Lima metropolitan area. Oil has been found in the beaches and oceans along the country’s coast, including on the islands of Pescadores, Guaneras, since then.
Appeal to the Bishops
The bishops signed a letter by Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte OFM to President of Peruvian Bishops’ Conference. They express concern and concern about the ecological disaster that has yet to be fully calculated.
They also expressed regret that the spillage had affected two protected areas and the ecosystem of the area.
The Bishops point out that biodiversity is a gift, and God has commissioned man to care for the earth he made. The Bishops urge the actors to take on their responsibilities and to immediately remedy the immense environmental damage that was caused by the massive oil leak.
Largest ecological catastrophe
The Peruvian government declared a 90-day emergency following the spillage in the coastal areas that were affected. The authorities claim that the measure will allow sustainable management of the affected areas through restoration work and remediation.
TV and social media images showed oily beaches and dead seabirds as workers continued to clean up the oil spillage.
Repsol has been asked to compensate Peru for what officials call the worst ecological disaster in South America in recent years.
Ruben Ramirez (Environment Minister) stated Monday that Repsols offshore oil loading operations will be temporarily suspended pending technical assurances from the company that there will not be another spillage.
A Peruvian Judge has placed a travel ban on four Repsol executives for 18 months. This is in response to the investigation into the massive oil spillage off the coast.