Mystery Israeli Oil Spill Leads To Multimillion Dollar Cleanup
A massive oil spill off the coast of Israel is being called the worst ecological disasters in the Mediterranean country’s history. The cause and full extent of the damage is still unknown.
A massive oil spill off the coast of Israel is being called the worst ecological disasters in the Mediterranean country’s history. The cause and full extent of the damage is still unknown, but Israeli authorities are investigating. Several tankers are under suspicion.
The spill was discovered when patches of tar began washing up on more than 100 miles of Israel’s coastline this past week. According to the Times of Israel, some 70 tons of tar and contaminated material have been scraped off and collected along the country’s shores since cleanup efforts began. Beaches have been shut down, and the sale of fish and other seafood from the area is now prohibited.
The Israeli government approved a $13.8 million response budget that will come from the state’s Fund for the Prevention of Marine Pollution, created some 40 years ago to pay for cleanups as well as equipment and training to respond to oil spills.
There is still a fog of war with respect to what happened. Ten ships are under investigation, including the Greek ship called the Minerva Helen, which was an initial focus of authorities according to the Times of Israel. Minerva Marine, a longstanding player in the sector with a current fleet of dozens of tankers, said in a statement that the allegations were “unfounded and inaccurate” and claim to have evidence that the vessel was in no way involved. Whoever is found responsible, this disaster will raise questions about how the regulations and liability of oil spills and environmental pollution are handled.
The Israeli minister of environmental protection, Gila Gamliel, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu headed to the port town of Ashdod to assess the damage. The director of Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, Shaul Goldstein, said that the spill will setback ecological renewal and protection efforts by decades.