Oil spill kills migrating penguins in Uruguay

Uruguay Oil Spill
A penguin covered in oil rests in a center run by the SOS Marine Life Rescue in Piriapolis, Uruguay, on Wednesday.Marcelo Hernandez / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Dead and oil-soaked penguins continue to wash ashore near Uruguay's capital a week after fuel spilled during a boat collision.

A least a dozen dead, oil-soaked penguins and a dead sea lion appeared Wednesday at the Piriapolis beach outside Montevideo, where workers scraped oil from the sand.

Richard Tesore of SOS Marine Life Rescue said that wildlife rescuers already are attending to 70 animals injured by contact with oil, and more continue to wash ashore.

Navy spokesman Marcel Larrobla says a damaged fuel tank that released oil after the collision had the capacity to carry 145 cubic meters of fuel oil.

At least 60 dead penguins were reported in the first four days after the June 4 spill.

The dead and soiled animals were Magellanic penguins, which migrate between southern Argentina and the coast of southeast Brazil, Tessore said.

The penguins swam through oil spilled when Syros, a Greece-registered boat, and Sea Bird, a vessel registered in Malta, collided near Montevideo. The collision produced a 13-mile-long spill near the Rio de la Plata river.