Crews Clean Up Oil Spill on Beaches Near Lima, Peru

Cleanup efforts continued on shorelines north of Lima, Peru, on Thursday, January 20, after the volcanic eruption near Tonga triggered waves that caused a crude oil spill at a refinery off Ancon district on January 15, according to local officials.

At least 6,000 barrels of oil were spilled across 17 beaches between Ventanilla to Chancay, impacting marine ecosystems where legally protected animals reside, nonprofit ocean conservation organization Oceana Peru said in a press release.

An investigation into the refinery La Pampilla was underway to determine if the company was criminally culpable for environmental contamination across the Guano Islands, Islets, and Capes National Reserve System, as well as the Ancon Reserved Zone, according to Peru’s Specialized Prosecutor for Environmental Matters.

According to Oceana, the Peruvian Navy did not take the appropriate measures of issuing a tsunami alert due to the eruption. The organization also demanded that energy and petrochemical company Repsol clarify why fuel discharge operations continued despite the detection of abnormal sea activity.

Repsol has detailed a contingency plan to address what they said was an “unforeseeable maritime phenomenon.”

Footage filmed by Oceana Peru on Wednesday shows crews cleaning up a beach in the city of Ventanilla, where the Peruvian government on Thursday declared a national climate emergency to promote a low-carbon economy and global green agenda.

Pictures taken by Oceana on Wednesday show an injured bird soaked in oil and scenes outside the La Pampilla refinery, where fishermen continue to protest the damage caused by the spill, according to local media. Credit: Oceana Peru via Storyful

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