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Brazil's oil spill 'criminally deposited' on beaches

October 8, 2019

President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested a criminal element to the mystery oil slicks polluting Brazil's northeast coast. About 100 oil spills have been detected along the nation's beaches since early September.

Oil spill on a beach in Cabo de Santo, Brazil
Image: Reuters/D. Nigro

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday said vast quantities of oil spilled along the country's beaches appeared to have been "criminally deposited" there, reported Reuters news agency.

The crude oil "does not seem to come from an offshore platform," Bolsonaro told reporters, suggesting it was from another country, without elaborating because of an ongoing police probe. 

"It could be something criminal, it could be an accidental spill, it could also be a ship that sank. It is complex. We have on our radar screen a country that could be the origin of the oil." 

If the oil originated from a shipwreck, as the president suggested earlier this week, it would still be seeping onto the beaches, he said.

Environment Minister Ricardo Salles said on Twitter that Brazil's environmental agencies had collected more than 100 tons of oil from the beaches. 

The spill stretches over 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) of Brazil's northeast coast, affecting 46 cities and around 100 of the country's best beaches since being first detected on September 2.

The oil has killed several turtles and forced fishermen and fisherwomen to stay away from the contaminated area.

State-run oil giant company Petrobras said last week that the spilled oil isn't the type it produces.

Police have launched a probe into the incidents. 

kw/ng (AP, Reuters) 

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A black tar slick on Boa Viagem beach, Recife, Brazil
A black tar slick on Boa Viagem beach, Recife, BrazilImage: Reuters/D. Nigro