The National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) filed the first civil lawsuit for strict liability for diffuse interests in Peru against the oil company Repsol, due to the oil spill in Ventanilla that affected consumers, users and third parties.
The executive president of Indecopi, Julián Palacín, announced the filing of a lawsuit against Repsol for US$ 4.5 billion.
Palacín added that this lawsuit is in accordance with the rules of the Civil Code. «This indicates that whoever operates a risky good or the exercise of a risky activity and causes damage to another, is obliged to compensate him», he added.
The civil claim for damages was filed before the 27th Civil Court of the Superior Court of Justice of Lima against six defendants jointly and severally: Repsol S.A. (Spain), Mapfre Global Risks (Spain), Mapfre Perú Compañías de Seguro y Reaseguros (Peru), Refinería La Pampilla (Peru), Transtotal Agencia Marítima (Peru) and Fratelli d’amico Armatori (Italy).
The process, in this case, allows an abstract valuation: US$ 3 billion for the damages caused and US$ 1.5 billion for the moral damage to consumers, users and third parties affected, although this figure will be finally specified by the court in its sentence.
The oil spill caused by Repsol affected approximately 700,000 inhabitants, in addition to the closure of many beaches and businesses in the area.
Three months after the spill of some 12,000 barrels of crude oil in the sea off the coast of Peru, hundreds of fishermen are still unable to work and the Italian vessel involved remains detained with a ban on sailing.
The spill ocurred on January 15 as a tanker unloaded oil at a Repsol owned refinery. The company had blamed the spill on freak waves caused by a volcanic eruption more than 10,000 kilometres away near Tonga.