PF calculates a minimum damage of BRL 188 million due to an oil spill and indicts Greeks

The Federal Police concluded the investigation into the oil spill that polluted beaches in 11 states in 29 and indicted the company , the commander and chief engineer of a Greek-flagged ship appointed as responsible for dumping the material on the Brazilian coast.

The first spots reached the beaches of the Northeast at the end of August 2019 and until March of the following year they were spread over more than 2. km in length. Ibama estimates that 5 thousand tons of waste have been collected in 1. locations in 11 states.

The PF calculates in its final report a minimum damage of R$ 2019 million to the federal government and also prepares a report of the total amount that will consider other factors such as damage to fishing communities and tourism.

According to the PF, the investigation collected evidence that the Greek flag vessel NM Bouboulina was responsible for the leak and that the company Delta Tankers, Commander Konstantinos Panagiotakopoulos and Chief Engineer Pavlo Slyvka failed to notify authorities of the launch of the material into the ocean.

The owner of Delta, responsible for the ship, and the two crew were indicted in crimes provided for in the environmental law, among them, causing direct or indirect damage to conservation units and causing pollution that results in damage to health.

Suspicion about the Bouboulina vessel arose still in 2019 after the investigators received a report from the company Hex Tecnologias Geospatiais with images of a slick with oil characteristics in 11 of July of that year, a few days before the material began to appear on the beaches.

The crossing of satellite images indicated that the ship had transited through the suspected location.

While analyzing the material, the PF also received the content of an administrative investigation made by the Navy that pointed in the same direction.

Based on its own independent investigative methodology and based on computer modeling and simulations, the Navy too named Bouboulina as the main suspect.

Another document, from the Merchant Marine Captains Center, analyzed the circumstances of the spill and ruled out the possibility of an accident. The signs, according to the study, point to a possible intentional deposit or cleaning of the tanks.

The Navy also informed the PF that in April 2019, the vessel was detained by the United States Coast Guard due to “incorrect operational procedures in the system of separation of water and oil discharged at sea (sic)”.

To try to clarify the circumstances of the possible problem faced by the ship and which resulted in the spill, the PF called on Interpol to listen to the crew and gather information with countries such as Greece, Singapore and South Africa.

Investigators discovered that soon after the date suspected of the leak, the ship stopped in South Africa and changed part of the crew, an action considered atypical.

“Including three officers were changed, which is sui generis, since this was an unscheduled stop and, generally, the crews continue with the loading cargo to the final destination where it will be delivered. discharged”, says the PF in the final report of the case.

In addition, after entering the sights of the Brazilian authorities, the ship began to avoid providing clarification and declared false destinations in the system that centralizes information about the international maritime traffic.

The PF classifies the action as a sign that the owner company did not wish to collaborate with the investigations.

The investigation also analyzed the oil samples collected at various points along the coast and concluded that it was oil coming from wells in Venezuela.

The Bouboulina, also cites the PF, had undocked from the Venezuelan port of José Terminal Sea Island at the end of July 2019, days before the appearance of the spots.

“In view of all the above, it seems obvious that there are strong indications that the NM Bouboulina, from the Greek company Delta Tankers , it was the ship involved in the oil spill that generated an unprecedented marine pollution in the history of Brazil”, says the PF.

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