Peru warned about the ecological disaster caused by the waves resulting from the volcanic eruption in Tonga on Saturday Jan. 15 2022, according to Reuters.
After heavy waves and flooding over the weekend caused by the oil spill from Repsol’s Mare Dorium ship in the Lima coastal district of Ventanilla, Peruvian environmental authorities and hundreds of fishermen warned on Tuesday of the terrible consequences on marine fauna.
The Foreign Ministry said the oil spill, now in its fourth consecutive day spreading into the sea of the Peruvian coast, had damaged animal and plant life in an area of approximately 18,000 square kilometers, and is asking Spanish oil company Repsol to pay for the damage.
“This is the worst ecological disaster that has occurred around Lima in recent times and has seriously damaged hundreds of fishermen’s families. Repsol must immediately compensate for the damage,” the Peruvian ministry stated via Twitter.
Repsol explained that the high tides formed after the huge underwater volcano explosion in Tonga, some 10,000 km away, caused the process of offloading oil from the vessel to the La Pampilla refinery to be disrupted.
The Peruvian Minister of the Environment, Rubén Ramírez, assured on Tuesday, after meeting with authorities of the refinery, that the spill corresponds to 6,000 barrels of oil, and that the fine that the Repsol subsidiary could receive would amount to some 35 million dollars.
Meanwhile Tine Van Den Wall Bake, spokesperson for Repsol, denied that it should accept responsibility for the incident claiming that they did not cause the ecological disaster “and we cannot say who is responsible”, according to The Guardian.
Residents of the Ventanilla district bear witness to the severity of the spill, which they recorded in videos showing oil-covered beaches and dying seabirds.
Christel Scheske, a conservation specialist with the Peruvian Society of Environmental Law said that “Heavy metals from the crude oil will remain in the ecosystem for many years, rendering fish, molluscs and other marine species dangerous for human consumption, and affecting the entire marine food web”.
The Attorney General’s Office said that the spill “is the worst ecological disaster in Lima in recent times, and has caused serious damage to hundreds of fishing families. Repsol must immediately compensate for this damage”.
After the volcanic explosion, there was no tsunami warning in Peru as there was in Ecuador and Chile, only at night the authorities reported the possibility of “abnormal waves”, but after it became known that two women had died as a result of the van in which they were driving along the shore of the beach being swept away by the waves.
Today, the island of Tonga remains virtually cut off from the rest of the world, following the massive volcanic explosion that paralyzed communications.