January 25, 2022, Lima, Peru.– “Nine days ago, 6,000 barrels of crude oil at oil giant Repsol’s la Pampilla refinery near Lima, Peru spilled into the ocean, devastating a large swath of Peru’s biodiverse pacific coast. The spill has affected the lives, health, food security, and economy of hundreds of families that fish or otherwise depend on the ocean and beaches for their livelihoods. The environmental contamination continues to spread northward along the Peruvian coast, affecting marine-coastal species on 21 beaches in the districts of Ventanilla, Santa Rosa, Ancón, and Chancay. Repsol has failed to take responsibility for the spill, and experts have called its clean-up response slow and insufficient.
“Last week, Earthrights joined the calls of thousands of Peruvians and scores of Peruvian civil society organizations that Repsol assume direct responsibility for this environmental disaster, and contain and control the advance of the oil with a rapid and timely response. Together with Peruvian partners, we also called on the company to remedy the environmental damage its oil has caused and to provide fair and immediate compensation for the affected communities.
“Peruvian authorities must also take action to stop the spread of contamination, hold those responsible accountable, and include representatives of fisherfolks associations, affected people, and representatives of civil society in its response. Further, Peruvian health authorities and Repsol must take adequate measures to monitor and protect the health of those working to clean up the spill and others whose health could be negatively affected by this ecological disaster.
“The spill at Repsol’s refinery is not an isolated event. It is the latest disaster in a pattern of oil spills that have plagued Peru’s coast and the Amazon region. The spill at Ventanilla has once again demonstrated the Peruvian State’s institutional weakness in dealing with these emergencies and the urgent need to strengthen its evaluation, oversight, and sanctioning capacity. The disaster has also shown that companies are unprepared for such events, and their priority when they do occur is to avoid responsibility. We join Peruvian civil society’s calls that companies should not be able to evade responsibility in the face of ecological disasters and that we must continue to mobilize for the strengthening of institutions that protect ecosystems and communities.”
Kate Fried, EarthRights International