Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Pemex spill contaminates Oaxaca beaches

A fuel oil spill contaminated four beaches in the Pacific coast city of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, on Sunday, local authorities have confirmed.

The municipal government said that fuel oil leaked from a Pemex offshore platform known as a single buoy mooring or monobuoy.

The spill contaminated the Punta Conejo, Brasil, Salinas del Marqués and Azul beaches in Salina Cruz, a municipality on the southern coast of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec where the state oil company has a refinery.

Photos showed sand stained black with streaks of oil, while a foul smell was reported along the city’s coast. The spill, which affected some 10 kilometers of coastline, was first detected by local residents and fishermen.

Footage of a Salinas Cruz beach stained with oil was shared by a state news outlet on Twitter.

Salina Cruz Civil Protection chief Rafael Ramírez said that Playa Brasil was the worst affected beach. Authorities have asked Pemex to clean up the beaches, which have been closed due to the spill.

“We already told Pemex what’s happening and the request is for them to start cleaning the beaches immediately,” Ramírez said. “What happened is concerning and cleaning up is urgent.”

Ramírez said that the cleanup would take several days and that the spill and beach closures would affect fishermen and beachside vendors and businesses. He said there had been no reports of the spill killing wildlife, but noted that a number of dead sea turtles recently appeared on Salina Cruz beaches and that the coastline has been contaminated on three other occasions this year.

“Fifteen olive ridley turtles appeared dead on the Salinas del Marqués and Brazil beaches about five days ago. Until now the cause [of their death] is unknown but it’s a concerning number of animals. … Hopefully Pemex can give us a response and tell us what’s happening because they can’t keep contaminating these natural spaces,” Ramírez said.

With reports from Aristegui Noticias 

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