Israel says it has identified the tanker it believes is responsible for the huge oil spill that has washed up across the eastern Mediterranean in recent weeks.
Environmental protection minister Gila Gamliel said yesterday the Emerald, a tanker belonging to Libya’s state-run General National Maritime Transport Co, was responsible for the spill which has caused severe ecological problems for much of the Israeli and Lebanese coastlines.
Gamliel said the Panamanian-flagged ship had headed from Iran via the Suez Canal through the Mediterranean to Syria. It is alleged to have switched off its AIS at the beginning of last month as it entered Israeli waters, at the time that the pollution is believed to have first been tracked.
The ministry presented what it said was strong “circumstantial evidence” that this was the ship behind the spill, though it did not have “forensic evidence” with Gamliel describing the incident as “environmental terrorism”.
General National Maritime Transport Co has not responded to the allegations made by Israel.
Mapping data supplied to Splash from MarineTraffic shows the route of the Emerald from January 30 to February 3, showing it was near the Israeli coastline when the oil spill occurred.