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Peru oil spill after Tonga eruption bigger than previously thought

An oil spill off the Peruvian coast earlier this month was twice as big as previously reported, according to the country's government.

Environment Minister Ruben Ramirez said Friday that almost 12,000 barrels of oil leaked into the sea on 15 January.

Officials described the spill as an "ecological disaster" to blame for the deaths of local fish and seabirds.

It happened when tanker at the La Pampilla refinery was hit by waves linked to a volcanic eruption on Tonga.

The site, about 30km (19 miles) north of Lima, is owned by Spanish oil company Repsol.

Peru has demanded compensation and prosecutors have opened an investigation into Repsol's role in the incident.

A judge granted a request on Friday to bar four executives from the firm leaving the country for 18 months amid the ongoing probe.


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