Aoun Urges Full Survey of Territorial Waters after Oil Spill from Israel
President Michel Aoun on Thursday followed up on new reports regarding a disastrous oil spill off Israel which has affected Lebanon’s shores.
The National News Agency added that the president explored “the measures that should be taken to limit its negative impact on the Lebanese coastline, especially after the appearance of sporadic black spots on the southern coastline all the way to Ramlet el-Bayda” in Beirut.
Accordingly, Aoun stressed the need to “carry out a comprehensive survey of Lebanese territorial waters, from the South to the North, in search of any polluted spots.”
He also called for “examining the Lebanese shores for the same purpose, in order to pinpoint the damage and work on addressing it.”
The disastrous oil spill has blackened most of Israel's shoreline and deposits of tar have started washing up in the Lebanese south.
The management of the city of Tyre's coastal nature reserve, one of Lebanon's last remaining sandy beaches and an important nesting site for endangered Loggerhead and Green sea turtles, said the spill could endanger marine life and biodiversity in the area.
The reserve is one of two marine protected areas in Lebanon and contains a wide diversity of ecosystems and is located on a major bird migration route.
Hassan Hamza, engineer at the Tyre reserve, said teams were evaluating how much tar washed up to organize quick clean ups. He said it appeared that "most Lebanese beaches have been affected by this pollution."
Israel's Environmental Protection Ministry has said it is investigating the cause of the oil spill.
The incident is believed to have taken place in early February, and Israel said it received no prior warning before an estimated 1,000 tons of tar started washing up on shore.
On Monday, an Israeli court barred publication of all details of the investigation, including the name of the suspected ship believed to have spilled the oil, its route and ports of call. An Israeli journalists' association petitioned the court on Tuesday to have the order lifted.