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Repsol ‘primarily responsible’ for January oil spill, parliamentary report says

“An ecological crime” and one “attack on humanity”. It is with these words that the conclusions of the report of the parliamentary commission in charge of investigating the causes of the oil spill which occurred on January 15 at the port terminal of Ventanilla on the Pacific coast, about thirty kilometers north of north of Lima, the capital.

After three months of investigation, the report of more than 300 pages was delivered on June 16, but the first sheets are just beginning to be revealed in the press. It designates the Spanish group Repsol as being the “primary responsible” of the environmental disaster that resulted in the pollution of more than 11,000 hectares of maritime and coastal areas.

The report’s findings are damning for the company; they brush aside the thesis of the Spanish group which asserted that the oil leak had been caused by a “abnormal swell”, itself caused by the volcanic eruption that occurred a few hours earlier in the Tonga Islands, at the other end of the Pacific, arguing that the waves had destabilized the tanker Mare Doricum lduring an oil unloading operation, 18 meters deep. A contradicted version, therefore: the waves did not “not more than 1 meter high” that night, reveals the report, specifying that the unloading operations can also be carried out with waves reaching up to 2 meters. On the other hand, among the causes of the oil leak, the report points “excessive pressure when unloading crude”.

Thousands of dead animals

On January 15, the rupture of a cable released 12,000 barrels of oil, permanently polluting two protected nature reserves, leading to the death of thousands of animals, including some on the verge of extinction, such as the Humboldt penguin and the sea ​​otter – and leaving seven thousand artisanal fishermen and traders without work. “The most serious ecological disaster on the Peruvian coasts”says the document.

Repsol is not only accused of negligence because of its “poor unloading practices” and sound “lack of maintenance of facilities”, but the company is targeted for not having reacted effectively and quickly to try to contain the oil spill, causing additional damage to the ecosystem, damage that could have been avoided. The report particularly denounces the ” fake news “ distributed by the group, constituting as many “conduct aggravating the alleged offense of environmental pollution”. On the evening of the disaster, the company quickly released a statement stating that the leak was “limited”, with only 0.16 barrels of crude escaped, and ensured that the episode was ” under control “.

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