Colombia’s environment minister confirmed Tuesday that “black spots” seen on beaches in Santa Marta in 2013 and early 2014 were the result of coal dust from coal barges in the harbor.
The minister, Luis Alfonso Escobar, was quick to point out that it was not possible to discern which of the coal companies was at fault for the pollution seen at the beach at the time of his statement.
The Colombian environmental organization INVEMAR, which is supporting the Ministry of Environment in its’ analysis, said that the government knew there were three companies managing coal in the Santa Marta area at the time in question. These were Project Cordoba, New Port and Drummond Coal River a national media source reported. Environmental authorities are analyzing the water quality to determine the source says the INVEMAR director according to W Radio.
He acknowledged that the US company Drummond was loading coal onto barges at the same time that the coal dust was seen on the beaches it was also possible that the pollution was the result of previous barges.
The US company Drummond is currently in hot water with the Colombian government for dumping over 2000 tons of coal into the Caribbean sea of the coast of Santa Marta while sinking in early 2013.
Drummond was later fined $3.5 million dollars in December of 2013 and forced to clean up the water and beaches affected by the dumping.