A state oil pipeline in Ecuador was hit by an act of “sabotage” on Wednesday, causing an oil spill into a river in the Amazon basin, the national company Petroecuador said.
The “sabotage” on the Trans-Ecuadorian Pipeline System (SOTE) caused a leak of crude that was “intentionally near a body of water” on the outskirts of Lago Agrio in the east, the company said in a statement, without specifying the amount of oil spilled or what the act of sabotage was.
“The emergency has been controlled,” said Petroecuador, which temporarily suspended its operations and mobilized personnel to contain and clean up the spill.
Oil company workers placed containment barriers on the banks and across a river, according to photographs released by the firm on Twitter.
“New environmental disaster, the waters of the Conejo river contaminated by oil in the province of #Sucumbios,” the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon said on Twitter.
A black and oily stain moved with the current of the river about 10 kilometers (six miles) from Lago Agrio, capital of Sucumbios, according to a video from the confederation.
The US NGO Amazon Frontlines, which advocates for the rights of indigenous peoples, also released a video on Twitter showing oil leaking from the pipeline at great pressure, contaminating land and water.
“Aerial images show the seriousness of the #oil spill of this #May 10 in the Conejo River – Lago Agrio – #Sucumbíos,” it said on Twitter.
The NGO added that “these events occur too frequently in the Ecuadorian #Amazon, affecting the lives of communities of #indigenous peoples and #biodiversity.”