Oil was found along the 190-kilometer coastline on some 170 kilometers of beach this weekend, reports the Israeli government organization that deals with nature conservation and national parks.
At least eight nature reserves have been affected. According to the authority, this is ‘the most serious ecological disaster in recent years’.
Although the amount of oil found is exceptional, it is still difficult to estimate exactly how large this oil spill was, says Middle East correspondent Olaf Koens. “Last week the weather was bad in the Mediterranean, high waves make it difficult to recover the oil. Images show smeared animals and here and there jet black tar, but no huge oil fields drifting over the sea.”
Large groups of volunteers have started cleaning up on the beaches. The government has deployed the military to help them. nIn the meantime, a search has started to find the causes of the leaked oil.
It is likely to be a ship or oil tanker that ended up in a winter storm earlier this month, says Koens. “Israel wants to work with European organizations to look at satellite images to identify the ship whose oil has leaked. Environment Minister Gila Gamliel says there is” a more than reasonable chance that the specific ship can be mapped. “
Recovery costs recovered?
If that succeeds, there is also a chance that a lawsuit will be started in which the costs of the clean-up can be recovered. In addition, there are plans to limit the risk of damage to nature in the future.
Koens: “After consultation with an Egyptian minister, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has made a proposal that ships in that part of the Mediterranean Sea would have to run on natural gas instead of oil in a few years’ time.”
Previous environmental disasters
At the end of 2014, Israel also experienced a major oil spill in the south of the country, near the border with Jordan. Then a pipeline ruptured and an estimated 3.5 million liters of crude oil flowed into the Evrona nature reserve. Several people ended up in hospital because of the oil fumes.
That same year, the country was held responsible for an environmental disaster in Lebanon. In the battle with Hezbollah, the Israeli Air Force hit oil storage tanks in 2006, causing major pollution of the Lebanese coastline. After UN intervention, Israel then had to pay $ 850 million in compensation.
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