Oil Spill in Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Esmeraldas is the far northwestern province (green) of Ecudador. Map: wpmap.org

HAVANA TIMES — An oil spill was recorded today in Ecuador by a ruptured Heavy Crude Pipeline in the northwest coastal region of Esmeraldas, informed the Ministry of Nonrenewable Resources (OCP).

In a statement, the OCP estimated the volume of the spill at 5,500 barrels of oil, which contaminated the Winchele estuary, 300 kilometers from Quito and affecting areas devoted to agriculture and livestock.

The main concern of the authorities is the pollution generated in the estuary and its creeks, tributaries that provide water to farms, cattle ranches and are suppliers of fish and freshwater shrimp, noted dpa news.

For the moment “established activities” are under way for such mishaps, including the placing of  contention barriers, trying to recover the oil and clean up to prevent oil affecting other sectors. Soldiers and firefighters are involved in the effort.

The pipeline operations are suspended, but “it will not affect oil exports” said a commission formed to investigate the accident.

The probable cause of the pipeline rupture is a landslide caused by a heavy storm in the coastal region, reported dpa.

The OCP estimated that repairing the pipeline will take five days and said it has started assessing the damage and determining the cause of the incident.