Since August 2019, crude oil stains have appeared on the beaches of the Brazilian Northeast. Five months on, this could be considered the most severe environmental disaster of this type. However, the economic impacts are still unknown. We show that the coastal areas of Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará were the worst affected in terms of gross domestic product and employment, assuming tourism and fishing to be directly affected activities. Our results can help plan better measures to mitigate the negative impacts of this kind of disaster and identify the most vulnerable areas for government and private assistance.