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An oil spill threatens Morrocoy National Park Venezuela's jewel of biodiversity

Images are from USB University
El Palito PDVSA refinery has stopped leaking oil into gulfo triste, apparently parts of the refinery have been shut down to investigate, but the refinery has been leaking oil for 3 weeks so the damage is already done - Watch CNW video

- Environmentalists denounce lack of information
- Crude oil spilled from the El Palito refinery in Puerto Cabello

By EN24 News

Petroleumworld 08 20 2020

The oil already affects especially in the Morrocoy National Park, which is home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna and its coral reefs and mangroves

The coasts of Falcon and Carabobo, in northwestern Venezuela, are hit by a major oil spill, which threatens natural parks and marine ecosystems. Originated according to experts in the El Palito refinery, owned by Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), would have discharged the equivalent of 20,000 barrels of hydrocarbons into the Golfo Triste.

The gigantic black spot threatens to extend for 350 kilometers of coastline, although it already hits especially in the Morrocoy National Park, one of the jewels of Venezuelan biodiversity thanks to its hundreds of species of flora and fauna and its coral reefs and mangroves.

“It is a true environmental tragedy, in addition to what we already see in the Arco Minero with the illegal exploitation of gold”, highlighted Julio Borges, commissioner for Foreign Relations of the presidency in charge. According to PDVSA's ad hoc meetings, “everything seems to indicate that the spill originated from the overflowing of the waste pond or waste pit” at the refinery, where Iranian technicians have been working for weeks to get it started. The National Assembly has ordered an investigation into what happened.

Greta Thunberg, the famous Swedish environmental activist, echoed yesterday the complaints from ecologists and fishermen, shocked by the scale of what they consider an ecocide. “There has been a huge oil spill off the coast of Venezuela. But very little official information has been provided,” Thunberg complained through her social networks.

Biodiversity in danger

The Fundación Azul Ambientalista has already reported that fish, crustaceans, shellfish and sponges are the first victims of the marine ecosystem and also that the oil spilled affects the process of photosynthesis and suffocates algae and corals. Another organization, Fundacin Huellas Gape, has deployed a hydrocarbon containment barrier within the Morrocoy Park. Activists have shown images of the degree to which mangroves are affected, covered in a kind of dark goo.

The lack of official information from PDVSA and the government's attempt to reduce the impact of the accident have collided with the determined action of the NGOs and Parliament. The Ministry of Ecosocialism only reacted after multiple complaints.

In the last few days, different operations have been carried out to collect the hydrocarbon that has reached the beaches, with members of the Army and the communes always behind the environmentalists, present in the area from the first day.

“We can say that 90% of the coasts of the Morrocoy National Park and the Golfo Triste are healthy with the participation of 1,200 volunteers,” said Vice Minister Josu Lorca, despite criticism from environmentalists.

The NGO Clima 21, on the other hand, has demanded urgent and effective actions “in accordance with internationally recognized and recommended standards and procedures to act in the face of this type of accident. Likewise, in the case of not having the material resources or adequate personnel to request international assistance to carry out these tasks “.

“The spill shows the corruption and destruction of PDVSA,” concluded Borges.

Reporting by EN24 News
08 17 2020



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