WATCH: Tonga eruption triggers Peru oil spill
A cleanup is underway after waves from the massive undersea volcanic eruption in Tonga triggered an oil spill off the coast of Peru, 11,000 km away.
An oil tanker was unloading oil for the La Pampilla refinery near the resort town of Ventanilla, according to reports, when the volcanic eruption sent shockwaves around the world on Saturday, causing widespread destruction and flooding across the Polynesian kingdom.
D’Amico Fratelli’s Mare Doricum is understood to have been carrying around 1 million barrels of crude oil. Peru’s environment minister, Rubén Ramírez, told reporters that authorities estimate 6,000 barrels of oil were spilled in the area, which is rich in marine biodiversity.
The Peruvian Civil Defense Institute said in a press release that on Sunday a ship was offloading oil into La Pampilla refinery on the Pacific coast, when strong waves moved the boat abruptly, causing the spill.
Photos emerging from the area show workers in white suits clearing a beach that has turned black from oil.
It is reported that Peruvian prosecutors opened an investigation on Tuesday into a unit of the Spanish energy firm Repsol, which operated the refinery.
AP reports that dozens of fishermen gathered to protest Tuesday outside the South American country’s main oil refinery, carrying fishing nets and signs reading “no to ecological crime,” “economically affected families” and “Repsol killer of marine fauna.”