Greek ship carrying Venezuelan oil tarred Brazil beaches

Brazil flagged a Greek ship carrying Venezuelan crude as the source of oil tarring Brazil’s coastline over the past two months.

The firm that ran the ship said its voyage finished “uneventfully”.

Investigators said the tanker, Bouboulina, owned by Greece’s Delta Tankers Ltd, appears to have spilt the crude about 700 km (420 miles) off Brazil’s coast around July 28-29, after loading the oil at Venezuela’s Jose terminal.

However, the manager of the oil tanker has found “no proof” of the vessel conducting activities that may have led to the leaks.

Delta Tankers said the Bouboulina had left Venezuela on July 19 bound for Malacca, Malaysia, “where she discharged her entire cargo without any shortage”. In a statement, the company said the trip proceeded “uneventfully,” adding that it would cooperate with the probe, “if contacted”.

The firm also said that it searched cameras and sensors of the vessel to confirm that the tanker did not conduct any “kind of ship-to-ship operation, leak, slowed down or veered off course, on its passage from Venezuela to Melaka, Malaysia”.

From late August to the end of October, the oil washed ashore in nine states closing hundreds of beaches and killing scores of animals. Volunteers trying to clean up the crude without proper equipment have also fallen sick.

Brazil has so far collected some 2,000 tonnes of sludge from its beaches in continuing cleanup efforts, while working to rehabilitate birds and sea turtles coated in the thick crude.

Brazil’s solicitor general said the country would seek damages in the case, which has hurt tourism and fishing communities in the poorer northeast region.

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