If it wasn’t for the birds covered in oil, authorities may have missed it. But efforts are being made to detect the source of the thick, black ‘substance that without doubt emanated from somewhere along Portugal’s northern coastline.
Birds coated in oil appear “from time to time”, explains Público, but so many in the space of three days suggest this was a spill no one wants to own up to.
The first birds were detected on January 5, with the last on January 8. Eighteen were found alive, the rest already dead.
The birds were discovered on various beaches in the boroughs of Viana do Castelo, Espinho and Gaia.
CRAM, the centre for marine animal rehabilitation is studying the substance to see if this will help led to the eventual detection of its source.
Said CRAM’s coordinator Marisa Ferreira, this is an unprecedented situation due to the elevated number of birds affected.
The birds were all migratory, said Público, but there is no doubt that they came in contact with the black substance on the Portuguese coast.
APA, the Portuguese agency for the environment, is currently studying water quality to see if this yields any clues as to the source of this phantom ‘spill’.