Spanish energy firm Repsol has said a clear-up operation for a major oil spill on the coast near Peru’s capital Lima would take until the end of February, in an environmental incident declared a ‘catastrophe’ by the government.
The government has said Repsol spilled some 6,000 barrels of oil into the ocean last Saturday near its La Pampilla refinery, which the company has blamed on unusual waves triggered by a volcanic eruption in Tonga.
Dead seals, fish and birds have washed up on the shore covered in oil, while fishing activities in the area have been suspended.
Repsol said it had enlisted fishermen to help clear-up the oil.
“I used to collect crustaceans, but now, when I walk to the shore, they are dead,” fisherman Walter de la Cruz said. “Fishermen used to go sell the seafood that we collect. But now everything smells like death.”
The company has declined to state the magnitude of the spill, saying its still evaluating the impact.