WATCH: Drone Footage Reveals Beach in Peru Covered by Oil Following Tonga’s Volcanic Eruption

by Matthew Memrick
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A drone caught video footage of an oil-covered Peru beach due to Tonga’s volcanic eruption.

Peru investigators opened an investigation of a Spanish energy firm after the oil spill. The spill’s source came from abnormal waves caused by the eruption and tsunami in Tonga from 6,213 miles away.

Reuters said officials gave the Pampilla refinery two days to identify critical points of the spill. As a result, refinery operations stopped as efforts to collect oil at least 1.8 miles of coastline will need to be picked up within ten days.

Sadly, the oil spill affects three coastal districts, causing contamination and killing birds and sea life. Some media reports showed dozens of dead seabirds drenched in oil. One particular bird spotted was a rare Humboldt penguin that lives in a marine biodiversity hotspot.

Peru Works To Contain Oil

Peru’s environmental minister, Ruben Ramirez, told a press conference that the spill “is worrying because it is very difficult to remedy.”

He said the waves caught a ship unloading crude oil on Monday and started the spill. Additionally, two people also drowned on beaches due to the giant waves that weekend.

Earlier this week, the National Institute of Civil Defense says the spill is under control. The Guardian newspaper reported that government officials wanted money to cover the cleanup costs. In this situation, the company could be facing a $34.7 million fine.

Officials at the Pampilla Refinery reported a limited spill on Sunday. By Tuesday, the company had containment barriers around the affected areas, with oil appropriately collected.

Surprisingly, Peru’s prime minister said the company did not have a contingency plan for spills, while environmental groups are not keen on the company’s slow cleanup response.

The Guardian reported that the country’s foreign minister wanted the company to “immediately compensate” the country for the spill that created “serious harm to hundreds of fishermen’s families” and had “put in danger flora and fauna” in two protected natural areas.

The Spanish company reported that “work is being done to return the coastal area to its original state.” More than 200 people were working at Cavero, Bahía Blanca, and Santa Rosa beaches to collect the oil.

Drone Catches Devastation

The drone recorded a thick sheen of oil over one of the affected Peruvian beaches. Comparatively, it wasn’t among the worst spills in the world’s history.

While 2010’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the biggest in recent memory with 210 million gallons, the 1910 Lakeview Well spill was the largest oil disaster in modern times.

That disaster ended with the well collapsing on itself after 18 months.

The point often overlooked was that 378 million gallons leaked during the disaster. The environmental impact, however, was minimal. Dikes built by hand prevented oil from contaminating a lake, and much of the oil was soaked into the ground or evaporated. 

Outsider.com