Indigenous protesters release hijacked oil tankers in the Peruvian Amazon.

Indigenous Protesters In Peru's Amazon Release Captured
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Protests from Indigenous people in the Peruvian Amazon have led to the release of two oil tankers and their crew members that were held since last week. The Indigenous group had seized the ships to bring attention to changes made in a development fund that would affect their benefits associated with oil profits. The release follows a meeting between the Indigenous group’s leaders and local authorities, and the ships and crew were unharmed. The company, PetroTal, has reported giving 2.5% of profits from local production to nearby communities, but Indigenous groups demand larger economic benefits and express concern over the environmental impact of drilling.

PetroTal has faced a series of clashes in recent months with Indigenous groups in the area over benefits from oil profits and environmental impact. The two barges seized were travelling from PetroTal’s northern region of Loreto oil field in Peru to Brazil when they were overtaken. The local government had refused to acknowledge a previous agreement with Indigenous communities in the area over a social development fund financed by oil profits. PetroTal’s marine shipments resumed earlier today, after the Indigenous group had released the ships.

Although an agreement was reached on Friday between the Indigenous association Aidecobap and Loreto’s governor, PetroTal was forced out of the discussions and refused the agreement, citing an “attempt to politicize the discussion”. As Indigenous groups in the area continue to look for larger economic benefits and pressure companies over environmental impact, the issue is likely to remain a point of conflict if not addressed effectively by mining and natural resources companies.

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