Peru hits Spanish energy giant Repsol with new oil spill fines

Peru's environment authorities on Wednesday announced fines worth close to $6 million against Spanish energy giant Repsol over an oil spill that polluted beaches and cost thousands their livelihoods.

Peru hits Spanish energy giant Repsol with new oil spill fines
A Peruvian navy officer stands in front of the Italian oil cargo ship, Mare Doricum, which caused the oil spill while unloading at the refinery belonging to Repsol in Lima. Photo: ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP

Almost 12,000 barrels of crude spilled into the sea off Peru in January 2022 as a tanker unloaded oil at a Repsol-owned refinery.

Peru said more than 700,000 people were affected by the spill which forced the closure of 20 beaches and dozens of tourism businesses.

At least 5,000 fishers and shopkeepers lost their livelihoods.

Repsol had blamed the spill on freak waves caused by a volcanic eruption more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) away near Tonga.

The three new fines worth a total of $5.7 million were for “administrative responsibility,” the Environmental Assessment and Monitoring Agency (OEFA) said in a statement.

Repsol previously received fines worth $10.7 million in October and $1.25 million in July for a variety of offences such as reporting false information, not doing enough to contain or clean up the spill, and failing to identify areas affected by the spill.

The OEFA said the latest fine was for failing to supply “required information” relating to the environmental damage caused by the spill.

Repsol and five other companies also face civil lawsuits in Peru for $4.5 billion in damages to the environment and individuals.

On its website, Repsol Peru says that its La Pampilla Refinery, where the spill took place, had signed compensation agreements with more than 3,200 families and others affected, including ice cream and umbrella vendors as well as motorcycle taxi drivers.

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Spain’s Menorca gets green light to limit cars

The regional parliament of Spain's Balearic Islands approved Wednesday a law that allows the holiday island of Menorca to limit the number of cars that can visit.

Spain's Menorca gets green light to limit cars

The text passed by the assembly grants the government of the tiny Mediterranean isle the power to limit the entry of “all types of motor vehicles” to prevent it from becoming choked by fumes and overrun during summer months.

It also allows Menorca to set a “maximum ceiling” for the number of vehicles that can circulate on the island’s roads during a “defined period”.

Menorca, one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers in Spain, has so far not specified what limit it might set on the number of cars allowed.

During the peak summer season tens of thousands of cars arrive on ferries from mainland Spain or the neighbouring island of Mallorca.

“This is a historical milestone for Menorca,” the head of the island’s government, Susana Mora, said in a statement. “It is a tool that should help us boost our sustainability policies.”

Protecting the environment and keeping tourism at sustainable levels have long been priorities for Menorca, which has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1993 and is home to around 100,000 people.

The easternmost of the Balearic Islands, it remains distinctly rural with rolling fields, wooded ravines and humpy hills punctuated by dozens of pristine beaches.