The US based coal giant Drummond Ltd. argued Monday that only ten gallons of fuel were spilled in its latest environmental degradation in Colombia, said El Tiempo Monday.
Drummond has claimed that only ten gallons of diesel fuel were dumped into the Caribbean Sea on Friday when one of its supply ships sank. The sinking occurred in the port of Cienaga located in the Magdelana state near the coastal city of Santa Marta.
The ten gallons dumped into the harbor reportedly came from fuel already in the ship’s fuel lines and engine. Drummond said employees on the boat were able to close off the other fuel compartments that would have led to a greater spill, according to El Tiempo. Drummond also alleged it was able to clean up much of the spill following the sinking.
Magdelena prosecutors have challenged the smaller figure, arguing that the actual size of the spill was about 50 gallons of diesel fuel. A prosecuting attorney specializing in environmental disasters has opened a criminal investigation into the spill.
If found responsible for sizable environmental damage Drummond could face steep fines and potential prison sentences for the employees complicit in the spill.
In December of last year Drummond was fined $3.5 million by the Colombian government for dumping 2000 tons of coal into the Santa Marta harbor in January of 2013.
The Alabama-based coal giant does not have a sterling human rights record either. Former paramilitaries have testified that Drummond paid them $1.5 million to kill union officials.
Alcides Mattos Tabares, alias “El Samario,” claimed that as part of the Northern Bloc of the AUC he took part in the murdering of employees ordered by Drummond.
Drummond’s union president and vice president, Valmore Locarno and Victor Hugo Orcasita, “had” to be killed because they were organizing a strike that would have generated losses for the company, said Tabares.
Drummond has denied all involvement in the killings and ties to paramilitaries.