PDVSA oil spill fouls Curaçao

Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA has confirmed an oil spill reported by Curaçao authorities on August 17 at the autonomous Dutch territory’s Isle refinery, which is operated by the Venezuelan parastatal. PDVSA said Aug. 30 that is has been working with local authorities  to contain the spill. But local environmental organizations charge that PDVSA responded late to the emergency. Peter van Leeuwen, chair of Clean Environment on Curaçao (SMOC), asserted that neither PDVSA nor the territory’s government had contingency plans in place for such a disaster, and stated that the island’s Jan Kok nature preserve, a critical flamingo habitat, has been impacted. “This is probably the biggest disaster in Curaçao,” he said. “The whole area of Jan Kok is black. The birds are black. The crabs are black. The plants are black. Everything is draped in oil.” (El Universal, Caracas, Aug. 30; AP, Aug. 27)

The spill come in the wake of a deadly refinery explosion at a PDVSA complex on the Venezuelan mainland.