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Cyprus Environment

Cyprus coast not affected by oil spill off Israel

israel's beaches blackened by tar after offshore oil spill
Policemen ride their horses as they patrol the beach where Israeli soldiers and volunteers clean tar from the sand after an offshore oil spill drenched much of Israel's Mediterranean shoreline, in Atlit, Israel

The fisheries department said no signs of tar have been seen on the Cypriot coastline, as neighbouring Israel is dealing with what has been described as one of the worst ecological disasters in decades following a large oil spill from an unknown source.

In a statement on Thursday, the department said it had been notified around a week ago by Israel’s ministry of environmental protection about the pollution in its sea and coast.

Since then, it added, the department has been closely monitoring Cyprus’ maritime area through satellite images received from the European Maritime Safety Agency for images of possible oil spills.

So far, there has been no depiction of a possible oil spill in Cyprus’ maritime area, it said.

Moreover, the search and rescue coordination centre informed Israeli authorities that there had not been any marine incident or marine oil pollution up until February 17 in Cyprus’ area.

Responding to a request by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC), the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research sent satellite images taken on February 6 and 12, depicting possible oil spills, to be further assessed, it added.

Israel has been tackling a large oil spill from an unknown source, which reportedly devastated sea life and dumped tonnes of tar across the coastline from Israel to southern Lebanon.

The thick clumps of tar showed up on the neighbouring country’s beaches.

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