Disasters & Accidents

Diesel fuel spills into Panama Bay

Panama City, Jul 4 (EFE).- The failure of a pipe supplying an industrial boiler caused diesel fuel to spill into a river that flows into Panama Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the Panamanian government said Tuesday.

After learning of the appearance of a fuel slick on the river, officials from the Environment Ministry traced the leak to a facility in Panama City’s Juan Diaz district belonging to food wholesaler Macello, regional director Marcos Rueda Manzano said.

EFE spotted containment booms along a segment of the river.

The capacity of the affected fuel tank is 500 gallons (1,892 liters) and the diesel overflowed the containment tub, the Environment Ministry said in a statement.

Staff at Macello did not realize the pipe had ruptured and were surprised when the officials from the ministry showed up at the plant, Rueda said.

Even so, the firm could face a fine of more than $100,000 in addition to having to pay for remediation of the damage, he said.

The Juan Diaz is one of the most polluted rivers in Panama, thanks mainly to tons of trash generated by the 2 million residents of the capital. EFE gf/dr

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