Below is the recent statement given by the Brazilian Navy Authority:
“From the joint and coordinated work between the Brazilian Navy and the Federal Police, with the support of national and foreign institutions, it was possible to advance the investigations into the cause of the appearance of oil spills that reached the northeastern shores, since August 30.
Studies carried out by the Navy Hydrography Center, together with universities and research institutions, made it possible to determine an initial area of possible occurrence of oil disposal, guiding the initial research efforts.
From this initial area, and with data on maritime traffic obtained from the Integrated Maritime Safety Center (CISMAR), the Brazilian Navy reached a number of 1,100 vessels, with a subsequent refinement of 30 tankers.
At the same time, the Federal Police (PF), through geointeligence, identified a satellite image of July 29, related to an oil spill located 733.2 km (about 395 nautical miles) east of the state of Paraíba. This image was compared with images from earlier dates where no spots were identified.
The oil collected on the shore of the north-eastern coast has been subjected to various analyses in laboratories that have proven to originate from oil fields in Venezuela.
This information was supplemented by verification of other parameters such as cargo, port of origin, travel route and shipowners’ information.
Of the 30 suspected vessels, a Greek-flagged tanker was navigating the spot, on the date considered, carrying crude oil from Venezuela’s “SAN JOSÉ” to South Africa. Satellite images, associated with the above data, point this ship as the prime suspect.
CISMAR’s follow-up attests that the vessel kept its monitoring systems powered (Automatic Identification System – AIS) and there was no communication to the Brazilian Maritime Authority about the spill in question.
During the investigation, vessels that did not transmit their location systems (AIS), known as “Dark Ships”, were also evaluated. However, after verification of satellite images, they were not correlated with this occurrence.
Investigations continue to identify the circumstances and factors involved in this spill (whether accidental or intentional), the dimensions of the original oil spill, as well as to measure the volume of oil spilled, to estimate the likelihood of residual oils, and to ratify the pattern of spill observed dispersion.
The unprecedented occurrence required the establishment of its own research protocol, requiring the integration and coordination of different organisations and sectors of society.
The Brazilian Navy, the Federal Police, and other collaborators will continue to conduct the investigation until all issues involved are clarified”.