Indigenous Peruvians are holding two ships, one of which is carrying 40,000 barrels of crude oil, in a river in the Amazon rainforest, Canadian company PetroTal said Thursday, expressing concern about the environmental consequences in the region.

The two vessels, one Brazilian-flagged, the other Peruvian-flagged, “are being held against their will,” Jose Luis Medina, director of sustainable development at PetroTal, the country’s largest crude producer, told a Peruvian television station. of the Andes.

“The most worrying thing is that one of the ships is carrying 40,000 barrels of crude oil, the situation could become very dangerous (…) for the environment in the area,” he added.

According to PetroTal, the indigenous people have been holding the two ships since Tuesday in a river in the Puinawa area of ​​the Loreto region (northeast), having surrounded them with canoes and brandishing Molotov cocktails.

The company spoke of supporters of the Indigenous Association for the Development and Protection of Bajo Puinawa (AIDECOBAP), an organization that, via Facebook, accuses PetroTal of destroying the area’s environment “with absolute impunity”.

The two ships are transporting crude to Brazil from PetroTal’s facility in Loreto.

Indigenous activists protesting the environmental damage caused to their lands by the state-owned oil company Petroperú occupied an oil platform in the Peruvian Amazon in March.

In November, in the Loreto region, indigenous people blocked a river in protest over the leakage of a huge amount – 2,500 tons – of crude oil due to a hole in an oil pipeline. Among others, they took hostage foreigners and Peruvian tourists who were touring the area by boat.

Peru has been hit by a series of oil spills in recent years, closing beaches and tourism businesses and depriving residents, especially fishermen, of their livelihoods.