Investigators in Brazil Blame Greek Oil Tanker For Mysterious Oil Slicks

Investigators in Brazil Blame Greek Oil Tanker For Mysterious Oil Slicks

Federal Police in Brazil have concluded that a Greek-flagged oil tanker was responsible for a mysterious oil spill that fouled large stretches of the country’s beaches over the course of several months back in 2019 and 2020.

The Federal Police said the shipping company as well as the captain and chief engineer of the vessel have been indicted on environmental crimes related to the incident, although the name of the vessel or those indicted have not been released.

The oil slick was a big story back in 2019 when crude oil from an unknown origin began washing ashore along thousands of miles of beaches. Officials say the slick impacted more than 1,000 locations across 11 coastal states between August 2019 and March 2020.

As part of the 2-year investigation, officials conducted a chemical analysis of the recovered oil to determine its type and origin, while others looked at drift models to pinpoint the source of the leak. Investigators also dove into troves of data, documents and information to help identify the source.

Based on all of the evidence gathered, the Federal Police have now concluded that there is sufficient evidence that “an oil tanker flying the Greek flag” was responsible.

The cost of clean-up has been determined to be about $33 million not including environmental damage, which will be determined at some point in the future.

Police in November 2019 said a Greek-flagged ship carrying Venezuelan crude to Singapore was responsible for at least one oil spill that took place July 28-29, 2019. Although police did not name the ship in question at that time either, reporting indicated it was the MT Bouboulina owned by Greece’s Delta Tankers Ltd. It’s not clear if the incidents are related.

The police investigation has now been sent to the Federal Judiciary Power of Rio Grande do Norte and the Federal Public Ministry for additional action.