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Mysterious Brazilian oil spill could be ‘criminal,’ Bolsonaro says

A mysterious oil spill, which has contaminated a number of postcard beaches in northeastern Brazil, may have been illegally dumped, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Tuesday according to state-news agency Agencia Brasil.

President Jair Bolsonaro told journalists that the crude oil, which were first spotted last month, may have been dumped “criminally.”

President Bolsonaro previously told reporters Monday that the oil is neither produced nor traded in Brazil, and that there is a suspicion about its country of origin.

The statement comes after he met with Environmental Minister Ricardo Salles Tuesday morning. Salles said more than 100 tons of oil sludge has already been collected.

Salles also said the movement of oil has been back and forth from the sea to the coast, and that workers are acting quickly to remove what is on the ground.

After an investigation last month, Brazil’s navy and the state-controlled oil company Petrobas concluded that the oil was produced abroad, but did not know where, Reuters reported.

The Federal Police started to investigate the spills last week to try to determine where the oil came from.

Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA has said the spill contaminated coastline across eight states, adding that some oil-slicked wildlife were being treated, Reuters reported.