Greek-flagged ship caused mystery of 2019 Brazilian oil spill (police)

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Brasilia (AFP) – A mysterious oil spill that caused environmental disaster along a vast expanse of Brazilian coast in 2019 and 2020 was caused by a Greek-flagged ship, federal police said Thursday after a two-year investigation.

Police said “there is sufficient evidence that a Greek-flagged tanker was responsible for the oil spill” which affected more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) of coastline between August 2019 and March 2020.

The slick affected more than 1,000 cities in 11 coastal states, investigators said, without naming the company that owns the ship.

The ship’s owners, as well as the ship’s captain and chief engineer, were charged with “crimes of pollution, failure to comply with environmental obligations and damage to nature reserves,” police said.

In November 2019, Brazilian authorities identified the Greek oil tanker Bouboulina, owned by Delta Tanker, also based in Greece, as “the main suspect”.

But at the time, Delta Tankers denied responsibility for the environmental disaster, which threatened mangroves, humpback whale sanctuaries, coral reefs and numerous beaches in coastal towns in the northeast, a poor region whose l he economy is heavily dependent on tourism.

Police estimated that the costs to federal, state and municipal governments alone for cleaning up beaches and the ocean were some 188 million reais ($ 47.7 million).

During the disaster, the government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose environmental policies were widely criticized, mobilized some 5,000 troops for clean-up operations and more than 4,500 tonnes of oil residue was collected.


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