MILAN, Italy, Feb. 25 (UPI) — A spill that sent massive amounts of oil into the Po River in northern Italy was a deliberate act of vandalism, officials said Thursday.
Investigators said someone opened a valve on an oil tank Tuesday at a former refinery near Milan, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. An amount of oil equivalent to the load carried by 125 tanker trucks spilled into a tributary of the Po.
Roberto Formigoni, the governor of Lombardy, described the spill as a “criminal act” after flying over the affected area Thursday.
“They need to find out who did this and apply the harshest penalties possible,” he said.
Cleanup teams have been using floating barriers to slow the progress of the oil slick, with limited results. The oil reached the Po on Wednesday and is expected to traverse the river delta near Venice and flow into the Adriatic Sea within three or four days.
The Po, the longest river in Italy, flows more than 400 miles from the Cottian Alps to the Adriatic, passing through major cities, including Turin, Ferrara and Piacenza. It is connected with Milan by a series of canals.
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