Brazil’s federal police have completed a two-year investigation into a major oil spill off the country’s coast in the summer of 2019, and have recommended in a report submitted to the Federal Judicial Power of Rio Grande do Norte that charges be laid against a Greek oil tanker – which has so far not been named publicly – as well as its captain and chief engineer. If further action is decided on, they will be indicted for pollution crime and non-compliance with environmental obligations. Brazil is also expected to seek payment for damages; the cost for cleanup of the oil was almost $48m.
Between August 2019, when the spill was first discovered, and March 2020, oil reached more than 2,250 km of coastline in northeast Brazil. Over 4.500 tons of oil have been recovered from the ocean and beaches.
“The Federal Police, based on the evidence and other elements of conviction produced, concluded that there was sufficient evidence that an oil tanker flying the Greek flag was responsible for the launch of the oleaginous substance that reached the Brazilian coast,” the police said on December 2.
In November 2019, Brazilian authorities said the Bouboulina (pictured), owned by Greece’s Delta Tankers, was responsible for the spill. Delta Tankers denied the claim.