Oil stains reappear on the coast of Ceará

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For the second time in the year, silvers from Ceará are affected by stains of unknown origin, in an episode similar to the spill that affected 11 Brazilian states in 2019. According to the state government, until Thursday (10) 11 municipalities had reported the appearance of the stains.

According to the Ceará Environment Department, the first spot alerts were made in Caucaia, in the metropolitan region of Fortaleza, on Tuesday (8). The next day, the first spots were spotted in the capital.

According to a report released this Thursday, spots were also spotted in Aracati, Fortim, Beberibe, Cascavel, Aquiraz, São Gonçalo do Amarante, Paracuru, Paraipaba and Trairi. Among the affected beaches are tourist destinations such as Canoa Quebrada and Praia do Futuro, in the capital.

In addition to pollution, the appearance of the spots worries the authorities because it occurs during the turtles’ spawning season. The Secretary of the Environment warns the population not to return animals found alive to the sea, to avoid contact with the oil.

The cleaning work has been coordinated by the Environment Department, which has been making safety equipment available to the town halls of the affected municipalities. Oil samples were taken for analysis.

In January, 12 points along the coast of Ceará were affected by oil slicks. Analysis of the material collected indicated that it was not the same oil collected on beaches on the northeast coast in 2019, which had biomarkers characteristic of Venezuelan oil.

“It was found that the samples collected on the beaches of Ceará in January 2022 correlate with samples of oils originating from marine organic matter, which occur in some basins on the continental margin of Brazil”, the state government reported earlier this month. .

Thus, the investigations pointed to three hypotheses: natural leakage of oil from the seabed, a process known as exudation; accident in well drilling operation; or accident on an oil transport vessel.

There is still no information on the origin of the spots found this week. In 2019, the spots spread throughout the coast of the Northeast, reaching also Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro.

The first spots reached the beaches of the Northeast at the end of August 2019 and by March of the following year they had spread over more than 2,000 km in length. Ibama estimates that 5,000 tons of waste have been collected in 1,009 locations in 11 states.

After a series of disagreements between authorities about the origin of the leak —President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) even said that it had been caused by a Venezuelan ship—, the Federal Police concluded in December 2021 that the Greek-flagged Bouboulina ship, was responsible.

According to investigations, the company Delta Tankers, commander Konstantinos Panagiotakopoulos and chief engineer Pavlo Slyvka failed to notify the authorities of the release of the material into the ocean. They were indicted.

Since 2019, at least two similar but smaller incidents have been recorded in the country. In 2020, spots were found on three beaches in Pernambuco and two in Alagoas. In August 2021, fragments of oil appeared on the beaches of Fernando de Noronha.

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