Mysterious ongoing oil spill is already Brazil’s worst on record
It’s already being called the worst oil spill in Brazil’s history, and no one knows where the oil is coming from or how to stop it. First appearing in September, crude oil began washing up on the country’s north-eastern beaches, and to date over 1200 miles of Brazil’s most idyllic and picturesque beaches with have been affected.
Molecular analysis of oil samples indicate that it is most likely not from Brazil, and while natural oil spills are not uncommon, the sheer amount of oil seen is more consistent with an industrial accident, perhaps a shipping incident. Some are speculating that the oil is from Venezuela, however there is not yet confirmation of this. Already the Brazilian government has documented the collection of over 600 tons of oil.
“This week Hamilton Mourão, the country’s vice president, announced he was dispatching 5,000 troops to the northeast to give more “more visibility” to the government’s response.
Mr Mourão said the government had recovered 600 tons of oil, the equivalent of almost 4,300 barrels, calling the accident “unprecedented in the world”. [Source]
Given that the source has not yet identified, the public is duly outraged, causing Brazil’s government to respond by deploying over 5000 military troops to affected areas in a bid to create the appearance that the government is taking action in the interests of its citizens. Recent updates raise the alarm about efforts to interrupt the oil slicks before they damage one of Brazil’s largest coral reefs.
“Brazilian ships have been deployed to stop a mysterious oil spill from spreading to the Abrolhos Marine National Park, authorities said on Tuesday. The park, located off the coast of Bahia state, is one of the largest coral reef systems in the country.” [Source]
The impact to wildlife is already significant, and with no indication of how long oil will continue to wash up on Brazilian beaches, conservationists are rightly concerned and taking action to clean up what they can.
“Meanwhile, volunteers, environmental workers, and troops are clearing beaches with shovels and by hand. More than 4,000 barrels of oil have been removed, and teams are also finding dead seabirds, turtles, and dolphins covered in oil. Scientists are particularly worried about the spill’s possible effects on the upcoming sea turtle migration, when roughly 800,000 olive ridley and loggerhead sea turtles crawl across beaches into the ocean.” [Source]
Sadly, this is an extraordinary week in the world of oil and gas spills. In the United States, an oil pipeline spill has just occurred in North Dakota where oil is leaking from a TC Energy pipeline outside the town of Edinburg. Additionally, another major disaster has just occurred in Bangladesh where a fuel tanker and another ship collided, spilling 1200 tons of diesel into the Ganges, threatening the breeding habitat of Ganges river dolphins.
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(Source: wakingtimes.com; October 31, 2019; https://tinyurl.com/y2bd45f3)
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