(Kallanish, 23.Oct.2019) — Brazil has collected some 900 tonnes of oil residue from its northeastern beaches since early September, the government said in a joint note Monday.
According to the Brazilian Navy, environmental agency Ibama and oil regulator ANP, the mammoth clean up continues across the Brazilian northeast coast. Over 180 locations have been affected, threatening marine life, Kallanish Energy reports.
State-run oil company Petrobras reportedly said earlier Monday it had collected 280 tonnes of oil and sand from the beaches.
The mysterious spill, first spotted on Sept. 2, has proved to be a challenging task to contain as its source is unknown and appears to be continuously flowing. The government said analysis concluded the crude is Venezuelan, but has been cautious to accuse the Venezuelan government of responsibility.
Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, suggested during a live video on the government’s Facebook page Monday whether the spill could have been a criminal act, attempting to sabotage the country’s next oil auction Nov. 6.
“Coincidence or not, we have the transfer-of-rights auction,” he said. “I wonder, we have to be very responsible about what we say — could it have been a criminal act to harm this auction? It’s a question that’s out there.”
Bolsonaro didn’t offer any evidence for his statements.
Navy officials believe the crude has been released by a ship within the Equatorial currents, while Brazil’s minister of defense said in the same video the spill is an environmental crime, with punishment to be pursued.