Potentially grave oil spill detected off Israel's coast

Environmental Protection Ministry says suspicious stains that were discovered have the potential to become large-scale event on a regional or national level, exactly one year after major disaster caused by Libyan oil tanker

Ilana Curiel|Updated:
The Environmental Protection Ministry said on Wednesday that it is tracking what appears to be an oil stain, some 20 km (12.4 miles) from Israel's coast.
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  • The suspicious stains were located by a security reconnaissance flight, west of the Israeli shores of central Israel, from Rishon LeZion to Netanya, and will be investigated further in the course of the day.
    2 View gallery
    Environmental Protection Ministry drill on how to deal with oil stains
    Environmental Protection Ministry drill on how to deal with oil stains
    Environmental Protection Ministry drill on how to deal with oil stains
    (Photo: Kronos Aerial Photography)
    Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg and Director-General of the Environmental Protection Ministry Galit Cohen held discussions to assess the potential risks to the environment, with experts on the matter, including from the military.
    Last year, an oil spill that reached Israeli shores, caused massive ecological damage. It was tracked to a Libyan oil tanker sailing some 50 km (30 miles), away from the shore on its way from Iran to Syria. The event was one of the largest environmental disasters in Israel's history,
    On Wednesday, IDF areal patrols are expected to take place over the area where the oil stains were observed, while naval divers will be dispatched to collect data.
    The ministry said it had opened a situation room in Haifa as it designated the suspected crisis, a Ter-3 event, indicating its seriousness, according to Israel's National Preparedness Plan.
    2 View gallery
    ספינת בת גלים, תצא לאזור שבו נצפה הכתם החשוד
    ספינת בת גלים, תצא לאזור שבו נצפה הכתם החשוד
    The BAT-GALIM naval vessel to be dispatched to the suspected oil spill off the coast of Israel
    (Photo: Environmental Protection Ministry)
    The ministry says this event has the potential to cause large-scale pollution on a regional or national level, under the geographic conditions and the rapid movement of the sea.
    On Tuesday, following warnings from the European satellite monitoring service EMSA, planes were dispatched to an area off the coast of Ashdod to examine a suspicious stain on the sea surface, but an examination yielded no finding.

    First published: 10:54, 02.02.22
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