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Environment Ministry: Oil spillage suspected off the coast of Netanya

Environment Ministry: Oil spillage suspected off the coast of Netanya

Environment Ministry says suspected oil spill detected off coast of Netanya

Late Tuesday night, the Environmental Protection Ministry reported that a suspected oil-spill was discovered 20 kilometers (12 mi) offshore of Netanya.

The ministry claimed it was informed of a possible spillage after it was detected by satellites from the European Maritime Safety Agency. After initially being unable detect the spillage, the ministry was able to find it after receiving assistance from the Defense Ministry which sent reconnaissance flights.

The suspected spill is currently some 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Israel’s Mediterranean shore, the ministry said, adding that it was working to conduct a closer inspection to determine the severity of the incident.

The ministry did not provide any details about the extent, severity, or origins of the spillage, but stated that it would keep the public informed as necessary.

The report comes almost exactly one-year after the country suffered one the worst environmental disasters. A massive oil spillage in the Mediterranean caused widespread destruction.

Israel was taken by surprise when huge amounts of tar and the corpse of a fin-beaked whale, which measured 17 meters (55ft) in length, began to wash onto its coast on February 18.

After an oil spillage off the Israeli coast, soldiers clean the tar from Palmachim Beach (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90).

It became evident that beaches along the coast of its Mediterranean coast were contaminated, and that wildlife had suffered a severe loss.

After the leak, the sale and purchase of Mediterranean fish was temporarily suspended. In addition, beaches were closed. The first 17 locations reopened on March 7. Many volunteers rallied to assist with the cleanup, which is only just over.

It remains to be seen what long-term effects this will have on ecosystems.

An investigation by the Environmental Protection Ministry revealed that the leakage of tens tonnes of crude oil occurred between February 1st and 2, approximately 130 km (80 miles) away at sea. It was caused by the Emerald, a tanker owned by Syria. This tanker was not insured. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, based in London, has accepted the principle of paying damages.

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Nathan Jeffay, Health & Science correspondent

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