Tanker explosion in northern Peru causes injuries and oil spill

Explosions on an oil tanker in northern Peru and a subsequent fire on the ship injured at least 15 people and caused an oil spill 30 km offshore from Zorritos, Tumbes Deparment, on the north coast near Ecuador. The Supe, a 1400-ton, Class C tanker, was on lease from the Peruvian navy to the oil company BPZ Energy, which used the tanker to transport crude oil and natural gas from its offshore platform in Block Z-1. The mayor of Zorritos, Tito de Lama, told Radio Programas radio there were three explosions on the ship which were likely caused by a short circuit. At the time of the explosions the tanker was reportedly stationed at the oil platform. It was later moved 2 kilometers, about 1.2 miles, away from the platform for safety precautions. Initial reports said that the oil platform was not damaged. De Lama said the wounded, which have second and third degree burns, were to be flown by helicopter to hospitals in the capital, Lima.

According to de Lama, the resulting oil spill will affect the areas fishing stock, which the majority of the local population depends on for their livelihood.

“We are very sorry the company didn’t take appropriate precautions,” Agencia Andina reports de Lama saying. “As a consequence, 90 percent of the population, which makes a living from fishing, will be affected.”

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