Peru on Wednesday demanded compensation from Spanish energy giant Repsol for an oil spill caused by abnormal waves from a volcanic eruption near Tonga in the South Pacific.
Authorities cordoned off three beaches on Monday after 6,000 barrels of oil spilled while unloading a tanker at the Pampilla refinery off the coast near Lima.
The Repsol oil spill “is the worst ecological disaster in Lima in recent times and has caused serious damage to hundreds of fishing families. Repsol must repair this damage immediately,” the attorney general’s office said on Twitter.
“This terrible situation has endangered the flora and fauna of two protected areas.
Peruvian authorities have found dead marine animals covered in oil.
The spill happened Saturday at the refinery off the town of Ventanilla in the Lima region, affecting a three-kilometre stretch of beaches.
Refinery officials initially described the spill as “limited” and said they were working with authorities to clean up beaches.
“Containment barriers that cover all affected areas and brigades with specialized teams at sea and ashore have been deployed,” said the refinery, which blamed the spill on abnormal waves caused by the volcanic eruption at more than 10,000 kilometers.
The refinery could face a fine of up to $34.5 million, the Environment Ministry announced on Monday as prosecutors opened an investigation into the company for environmental contamination.
On Tuesday, energy and mining regulator Osinergmin ordered a suspension of refinery operations pending an investigation into the causes of the spill.