Waves from Tonga Eruption Cause Oil Spill on Peru's Central Coast

Waves triggered by the volcanic eruption near Tonga caused a crude oil spill at a refinery off the shores of Ancon, Peru, north of Lima, on Saturday, January 15, the country’s Public Prosecutor’s Office reported.

According to Peru’s Specialized Prosecutor for Environmental Matters, an investigation into the refinery La Pampilla was underway to determine if the company was criminally culpable for environmental contamination as the spill affected areas included in the Guano Islands, Islets, and Capes National Reserve System, as well as the Ancon Reserved Zone.

The mayor of Ancon, John Barrera, surveyed the spill by boat on Tuesday. Video released by the municipality shows Barrera grabbing handfuls of sludge from the water, along with a warning to the public to stay away from area beaches.

“There’s not just ecological damage, there’s also economic damage to the workers, the fishermen, people who work in tourism,” Barrera said in the video..

The Municipality of Ancon also released photos of animal rescue and cleanup efforts on Tuesday.

“The oil spill on the beaches almost killed an innocent penguin,” the municipality wrote on Facebook. “It was thanks to the immediate action of the veterinarian of the Municipality of Ancon, staff of the local government of Santa Rosa, SERNANP (National System of Natural Areas Protected by the State) and SERFOR (National Forest and Wildlife Service) that the life was saved. The penguin was completely bathed in oil and possibly ingested this polluting liquid, like other animals.” Credit: Municipalidad de Ancón via Storyful

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