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Peru beaches suffer oil spill blamed on waves from Tonga volcanic eruption

LIMA (AFP) – Peruvian authorities sealed off three beaches on Monday after they were hit by an oil spill blamed on freak waves caused by the volcanic eruption in Tonga.

The Pampilla Refinery, part of the Spanish company Repsol, said there had been a “limited spill” of oil off the coast of Callao and Ventanilla districts near Lima on Saturday due to the violent waves produced by the eruption on the other side of the Pacific Ocean.

It said the spill occurred during offloading from a tanker.

The National Emergency Operations Center said in a statement that the spill had been brought under control.

Environment Minister Ruben Ramirez said the accident had affected a three-kilometer stretch along three beaches.

“There is great damage to biodiversity, and it could even impact human health,” he said.

“And so it has been ordered that the area is cut off for all kinds of activity,” Ramirez told reporters.

Workers clean up an oil spill at a beach in Ventanilla, Peru. PHOTO: AP