Brazil has “strong evidence” Greek tanker spilled oil at sea

Suape Port in Pernambuco, one of nine northeastern Brazilian states affected by a recent massive oil spill 700 kilometres from the coast (Photo: Complexo Industrial Portuário de Suape)

Brazilian police have raided the Rio de Janeiro offices of an unnamed Greek shipping company to serve search warrants in connection with a massive spill of crude oil in the Atlantic off the country’s coast earlier this year.

The raids were carried out on Friday, November 1, after Brazilian federal prosecutors identified the unnamed company as the responsible party in the incident, which occurred at the end of July 2019.

The oil had reportedly leaked from one of the company’s tankers some 700 kilometres from the coast and eventually washed up on the shores of northeastern Brazil. The resulting black sludge ended up covering an estimated 2,500 kilometres of coastline and is said to have adversely affected the fishing and tourism industries in nine states.

The vessel had been transporting crude oil from Venezuela to Singapore when the spill occurred.

Prosecutors say they have “strong evidence” that the suspect tanker was the only ship sailing in the area of the origin of the spill when the incident occurred and that the tanker’s owners and crew failed to notify Brazilian authorities about the spill.

The country’s solicitor general said that it would seek damages from the Greek shipowner but declined to state an amount.

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