The Peruvian government now believes that an oil spill off its coast on January 15 released up to 12,000 barrels into the ocean, up from the original estimate of about 6,000 barrels. Repsol, the Spanish company that owns the La Pampilla refinery where the accident occurred, claims a lower-volume spill, at about 10,400 barrels.
The spill occurred when d’Amico Fratelli tanker Mare Doricum was discharging oil at one of the refinery’s offshore mooring buoys and was hit by high waves linked to the volcanic eruption on Tonga on January 14. The vessel has been detained by Peruvian officials.
Repsol has said it is cooperating with the investigation and has been actively involved in the clean-up operation.
A judge last week barred four Repsol executives from leaving the country for 18 months. The executives could face jail time if they’re found responsible for the spill, termed an “ecological disaster” by Peruvian officials. The country’s prime minister Mirtha Vásquez said the government is considering sanctions against Repsol, as well as a possible suspension of operations at the refinery.