EnvironmentMiddle EastPorts and Logistics

Israel vows to track down ship responsible for huge slick washing up on its shores

Israeli authorities are working with the European Union to track down a ship resposible for one of the worst oil spills to hit the country’s shorelines in decades.

A suspected ship leak off the coast of Israel 10 days ago has led to Israel’s biggest maritime ecological disaster in many years, with authorities closing the country’s beaches and beginning a massive cleanup effort.

Israeli authorities are working with European officials to review satellite images of ships that passed through the area.

The European Union monitors the location of oil slicks in the Mediterranean using information from a network of weather satellites.

Scientists can then use ocean current and weather data to track the source of the tar that washed up along Israel’s coastline.

The environmental protection minister, Gila Gamliel, said over the weekend that nine ships that were in the area at the time were being looked at.

“There is a more than reasonable chance that we will be able to locate the specific ship,” she told Ynet TV.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gamliel visited a beach in the southern port city of Ashdod on Sunday to inspect the damage.

Gamliel in a tweet said, “We are making every effort to find those responsible for the disaster and we will bring to the government’s approval tomorrow a proposal for resolutions to rehabilitate the environment.”

The environmental protection ministry and activists estimate that at least 1,000 tonnes of tar have already washed up onshore along more than 100 km of coastline.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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