Peruvian Fishermen Protest Oil Spill Caused by Tonga Eruption

Peruvian fishermen protested outside the country’s main oil refinery in the province of Callao on Tuesday after an oil spill was caused by waves from an eruption of an undersea volcano in the South Pacific nation of Tonga.

According to the fishermen, they have demanded to speak with company representatives, but no executive approached them.

“There is a massacre of all the hydrobiological biodiversity,” Roberto Espinoza, leader of the local fishermen, said

“In the midst of a pandemic, having the sea that feeds us, for not having a contingency plan, they have just destroyed a base of biodiversity,” Espinoza added.

Environment Minister Rubén Ramírez said an estimated 6,000 oil barrels spilled in the area rich in marine biodiversity.

On Saturday, an Italian-flagged ship was loading oil into La Pampilla when strong waves moved the boat and caused the spill. 

On Tuesday, northwest of the facility, on Cavero beach, around fifty workers from the refinery removed the oil-stained sand with shovels.

Juan Carlos Riveros, biologist and scientific director in Peru of Oceana, said that the species most affected by the spill include guano birds, seagulls, terns, tendrils, sea lions, and dolphins.

“The spill also affects the main source of work for artisanal fishermen, since access to their traditional fishing areas is restricted, or the target species become contaminated or die,” Riveros said.

Peru’s environmental assessment and enforcement agency estimated some 18,000 square meters of beach on Peru’s Pacific coast were affected by the spill.

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