On March 3rd, Israel accused Iran of “eco-terrorism” and said that Tehran had intentionally polluted the Mediterranean Sea.
This was stated by Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel.
“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.
Iran, according to the accusations, intentionally caused “the greatest environmental disaster in Israel’s history.”
Gamliel explained that, following a two-week investigation, the Environmental Protection Ministry found that the ship that leaked the crude oil, called the Emerald, was owned by a Libyan company and sailed from Iran to Syria.
It departed Iran, allegedly turning off its automatic identification system (AIS) – which transmits its location to other ships in the area.
It turned the AIS on as it went through the Suez Canal, and then off again as it approached Israel’s shores.
The ship remained within tens of kilometers of Israel’s shores, within Israel’s economic waters, for nearly a full day. It allegedly spent time spilling large amounts of oil on February 1st and 2nd, 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.
“Now we see Iran is not just terrorizing [Israel] with [attempts at attaining] nuclear weapons and entrenching itself in our region, but also by harming the environment,” Gamliel said. “They’re not just hurting Israel. Nature and animals don’t just belong to one nation. This is a battle that crosses borders.”
Gamliel said that Israel will demand compensation from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund and the ship’s insurers.
“We will settle the score with the polluters in the name of all Israelis for the harm to our health, nature, animals and view,” she vowed. “We cannot abandon our sea. Our sea is our natural treasure that we must protect.”
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.
Apparently, none of the agencies and nobody else, at all, knew of the oil spill before it reached Israel’s shores.
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 4.
Two were too far away, the third one was allegedly investigated by local authorities in Spain, and the 4th one is the Emerald that is allegedly responsible, by way of elimination, apparently.
On February 24th, the Health Ministry barred the sale of seafood from the Mediterranean Sea after a massive oil spill severely contaminated most of Israel’s coastline and killed wildlife.
The decision was made “in light of the environmental pollution in the Mediterranean Sea, which has been expressed, among other ways, in the amounts of tar found on the Mediterranean beaches in recent days,” the Health Ministry said.
הכירו את "רמזור החופים" של הים התיכון!
"רמזור החופים" הוא שילוב של מצב הזיהום בשטח והתקדמות פעולות הניקיון. חשוב לציין, שמצב ניקיון החופים משתנה וכי חופים שהיו נקיים היום, לא בהכרח יישארו כך מחר.
לרמזור החופים ארבע רמות >> pic.twitter.com/tYZS7M47dU
— המשרד להגנת הסביבה – Environmental Protection (@SvivaMinistry) February 24, 2021
Israel, of course, always simply accuses Iran following every and any incident inside or close to it.
Still, the worst oil spill in Israel’s history took place in 2014, and it was not of Iranian causing.
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