Portugal Colonial - Repsol executives barred from leaving Peru over oil spill

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Repsol executives barred from leaving Peru over oil spill
Repsol executives barred from leaving Peru over oil spill

Repsol executives barred from leaving Peru over oil spill

A judge in Peru on Friday barred four executives of Spanish energy giant Repsol from leaving the country for 18 months as investigations look into a catastrophic oil spill.

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The government described the January 15 spill, in which 6,000 barrels of oil leaked into the sea, as an "ecological disaster."

It happened when an Italian-flagged tanker, the "Mare Doricum," was unloading oil at the La Pampilla refinery, just off Peru's coast around 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Lima.

Repsol said the tanker was hit by freak waves triggered by a tsunami after a massive volcanic eruption near Tonga, more than 10,000 kilometers away.

Judge Romualdo Aguedo granted "the prosecution's request" to prevent the four executives, including Repsol Peru's Spanish president Jaime Fernandez-Cuesta Luca de Tena, from leaving the country.

Peru has demanded compensation from Repsol over the spill, and the energy giant faces a potential $34.5-million fine, the environment ministry has said.

Prosecutors claim ocean currents have carried crude 140 kilometers north of the refinery, provoking the death of untold numbers of fish and sea birds.

It has also prevented hundreds of traditional artisanal fishermen from working.

The Mare Doricum is anchored with a ban on setting sail, while hundreds of workers have been desperately trying to clean up around 20 affected beaches.

Fernandez-Cuesta Luca de Tena is accused of being responsible for the crime of "environmental pollution to the detriment of the state," with the three other executives considered "accomplices."

If found guilty, Repsol's president faces a potential prison sentence of four to six years.

G.M.Castelo--PC