En kvinne holder frem en død sjøskilpadde nær naturreservatet Hadera. Foto: Ariel Schalit/AP/NTB
Israels miljøminister sier det verste oljesølet i landets historie ikke var et uhell, men en bevisst handling fra et libysk skip som fraktet olje for Iran. Amerikanske og europeiske havforskningsinstitutter har hjulpet israelerne identifisere skipet.
Iran intentionally polluted the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s shores in an act of ecological terrorism, causing the greatest environmental disaster in Israel’s history, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said on Wednesday.“This pollution has people who are responsible for it and have to pay the price. Our nature is damaged, our animals are harmed, thanks to merciless environmental criminals,” Gamliel said.
The ship remained within tens of kilometers of Israel’s shores, within Israel’s economic waters, for nearly a full day, spilling large amounts of oil on February 1-2, with its AIS off.
Then it continued on to Syria, where it turned on its transmitter, and it returned to Iran, turning off its AIS as it passed Israel. It is currently in Iran.The tar reached Israeli shores on February 17.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Maritime Safety Agency, as well as Israeli maritime research company Windward, helped the Environmental Protection Ministry investigate the oil spill. None of the agencies knew about the oil spill before the tar reached Israeli shores, over two weeks after it occurred.Samples of the tar, which the Environmental Protection Ministry examined, showed that it came from crude oil, which sharply reduced the number of suspected ships from 35 to four. Two were found to have been too far away, and another was examined by local authorities in Spain and by Israeli investigators in Greece. The fourth is the Emerald, currently in Iran.