Another oil spill spoils the beaches of Paraguaná in western Venezuela: Tourists flee when they see themselves stained by crude oil

Another oil spill spoils the beaches of Paraguaná in western Venezuela: Tourists flee when they see themselves stained by crude oil




Crude oil spills from the Paraguaná Refining Complex (CRP), in Falcón State in western Venezuela, continue unabated polluting the surrounding beaches despite countless calls from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), fishermen, tourism service providers, and inhabitants of the affected areas.

By Irene Revilla / Correspondent

During the past four years, crude oil spills and gas leaks have thoroughly affected the ‘Golfete de Coro’ (Little Coro Gulf), because the underwater pipelines that run from Bajo Grande in Zulia State to supply the CRP (Paraguaná Refining Complex) in Falcón State, crisscross the area. In this month of November, two crude oil spills have been recorded in the stretch in front of the ‘Villa Marina’ resort in the ‘Los Taques’ Municipality, a tourist beach and one of the most visited spots throughout the year.

The oil spills had previously affected Amuay, but not Villa Marina, a situation that greatly worries the residents of the area who mainly live of artisanal and mollusk fishing. In addition, because it is a tourist area, they are dedicated to selling typical seafood dishes from the region with fresh catch, taken from the sea and sand, as well as renting awnings and services to daily visitors.

This November 21st, a new wave of crude oil reached the shore of Villa Marina, mainly on the coast of ‘Boca de Camino’, an area where mollusks are extracted, in what is called “selective fishing,” and which consists mainly in digging them out of the sand on the beach to retrieve the species.

The fishermen come out stained with oil, as well as their nets, but the most worrying thing is that some bathers have come out with oil adhered to their bodies, causing them to flee the place. “The awnings are not rented, because when people see the stained beach, they leave. The seafood is not sold either, much less do we have any income,” said a service provider who preferred not to identify himself.

In an event promoted by the Governor of Falcón, Víctor Clark, with businessmen from the region, the service providers of Villa Marina delivered a document requesting attention to the affected areas and to prevent the entire coast from being contaminated.

It was learned from the fishermen themselves that PDVSA went to the affected area this Wednesday, November 22nd, to begin the cleanup. When asked for information about the crude oil spill, the people were told that there are no broken pipelines, and if there were, the stretch near the Golfete de Coro would be stained first, so they presume that it is some waste oil pool from the Amuay refinery that overflowed.