Greek-flagged oil tanker suspected of causing oil spill in Brazil

Research continues on whether the source of this oil spill, "of a novel nature" according to the authorities, is accidental or criminal.

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An oil spill on Pocas Beach in Conde, Bahia State, Brazil, on October 27.
An oil spill on Pocas Beach in Conde, Bahia State, Brazil, on October 27. MATEUS MORBECK / AFP

Brazilian authorities suspect a Greek-flagged oil tanker was behind the oil spill that hit more than 2,000 km of coastline in northeastern Brazil. Friday 1st In November, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense explained that it had identified, through satellite data and international cooperation, a vessel under the Greek flag. "Which was transporting crude oil from the San Jose oil terminal in Venezuela and was heading to South Africa".

Brazilian authorities detected the oil spill on July 29, more than 700 km east of Paraiba State. Since then, the oil spill has progressed to the south and into the state of Bahia. The investigations first identified a group of 30 tankers that could have caused the disaster, before a Greek flag boat was considered "The main suspect".

If he has always left activated his AIS satellite identification system, this tanker "Never communicated to the Brazilian Maritime Authority (no information) on this spill » of oil. But, according to the Brazilian Navy, the tanker had been detained – on an unspecified date – for four days in the United States because of"anomalies (…) in the separation system of water and crude for the discharge at sea », a reference to the oil changes that tankers are allowed to do off.

Read the report: "This oil spill is our Chernobyl": on the beaches of Brazil, a pollution with unknown origins

"Immeasurable" damage

Authorities say research is continuing on whether the source of the oil spill "Novelty" is accidental or criminal and to measure the volume of oil spilled at sea. A search warrant was issued at the headquarters of a shipping company in Rio de Janeiro, announced the federal police without giving the name. The prosecutor's office evoked damages "Immeasurable" on the Brazilian coast where thousands of volunteers still clean black and slimey cakes on hitherto paradise beaches.

"This environmental disaster has reached estuaries, mangroves and river mouths throughout northeastern Brazil, causing damage to fishing, aquaculture and tourism activities."police said in a statement. Two hundred and sixty-four localities in nine Brazilian states have been affected. Several thousand tonnes of oil were collected as clean-up efforts accelerate as the peak tourist season approaches. Many marine animals have been affected, particularly sea turtles.

The tone used by the Ministry of Defense, the Navy, the police and the prosecutor's office on Friday to evoke this environmental disaster contrasts with the airiness shown by some Brazilian officials, who downplayed pollution. A newspaper survey O Globo revealed that the authorities had waited 41 days to put in place the national emergency plan for this type of situation.


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