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Indigenous Protesters in Peru's Amazon Release Captured Oil Tankers

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

June 12, 2023

© Omar / Adobe Stock

© Omar / Adobe Stock

Indigenous protesters in the Peruvian Amazon have released two oil tankers and their crew members being held since last week in protest over changes to a development fund, a source at the company operating the vessels, PetroTal, said on Monday.

The firm's marine shipments in the area also resumed earlier on Monday, the source added.

The two ships were hijacked on Tuesday, one with 40,000 barrels of crude aboard. The release occurred on Saturday after a meeting between the Indigenous group's leaders and local authorities, the source said.

The 14 crew members and the ships were unharmed, the source added.

The two barges, one operating under a Brazilian flag, were navigating the Amazon to Brazil from PetroTal's oil field in Peru's sparsely populated northern region of Loreto when they were overtaken, the company said.

Indigenous association Aidecobap reached an agreement on Friday with Loreto's governor, PetroTal said in a statement on Saturday. However, the company said it was forced out of the discussions and rejected the agreement, citing an "attempt to politicize the discussion."

The local government had refused to recognize a former agreement with Indigenous communities in the area over a social development fund backed by oil profits, PetroTal said.

The company has reported giving 2.5% of profits from local production to nearby communities.

Representatives of the Indigenous group and the Loreto government were not immediately available for comment.

PetroTal has faced repeated clashes in recent months with area Indigenous groups who want larger economic benefits from oil profits and complain about the environmental impact of drilling.

(Reuters - Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Kylie Madry; editing by Bill Berkrot)


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