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OR&R Supporting Oil Spill in Coastal Peru

FEB. 2, 2022 — NOAA is supporting the response to an oil spill off the coast of Lima, Peru. The spill happened on Jan.15, 2022 during the unloading of crude oil from a tanker off the coast of a local refinery.

Cleanup workers on an oiled beach.
Cleaning crews work to remove oil from a beach near Lima, Peru, on Jan. 20, 2022. Image credit: EPA, via Shutterstock.

The spill has already impacted: numerous beaches; biodiverse swaths of the Pacific coastline and marine habitats, including five natural reserve areas; commercial and artisanal fisheries; and the tourism industry. The government of Peru has formally declared an environmental emergency and has reached out to the United Nations as well as governments and organizations around the world for assistance and advice. 

NOAA is coordinating with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. National Response Team, and the government of Peru to manage the complexities of supporting an international incident and is providing the following assistance. 

At the request of the government of Peru, NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service is providing to Peru’s space agency, CONIDA, high-resolution satellite reconnaissance and its imagery reports and analysis, showing oiling extent and magnitude delineations that can be critical to emergency response operations. 

NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration—a center of expertise in preparing for, evaluating, and responding to oil and chemical spills in coastal environments—represents NOAA on the U.S. National Response Team. The team is a network of 15 federal agencies that provides guidance, assistance, and resources for managing pollution incidents. Through this team, these agencies are engaged in dialogue with the Peruvian government. 

As requested by the government of Peru, OR&R is providing oil trajectory modeling forecasts and analysis to better understand the oil’s movements and to assess the threat it may pose to other resources. This work is helping Peruvian authorities focus clean-up activities and interventions, as well as preventative actions in appropriate places, given the broad geographic extent of the disaster. 

OR&R is also working side-by-side with the U.S. Coast Guard to advise on oil spill containment methodology and clean-up guidance, and is helping develop assessments of the environmental impacts  and economic damages. Among the resources that OR&R has shared was guidance in Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique, a methodology that spill responders use to conduct shoreline assessment after an oil spill, as well as other Spanish-language spill response resources.

This article will be updated.

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Last updated Wednesday, February 2, 2022 10:59am PST