Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel clears Minerva Helen from oil spill links
The investigation into the latest oil spill has been extended to hundreds of vessels by a team of investigators headed by Israel's Ministry of Environmental Protection.
“At the start of the tar event that has plagued Israeli beaches, the ministry identified about 10 ships as potentially suspicious. It has since expanded the investigation to include dozens of vessels. To date, MoEP has inspected about 10 ships, and is continuing to inspect other ships. We will inform the public as the investigation progresses,” the ministry stated.
As clean-up efforts continue, it is estimated that 160 kilometers of Israel's coastline have been stained by tar.
According to the IMO-managed Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea, 1,000 m3 of tar balls had already been collected from Israeli beaches as of February 23, 2021. (REMPEC).
Satellite imagery and Authentication Information System (AIS) data provided by the EMSA Maritime Support Service were used to classify the vessels.
Separately, the Minerva Helen, one of the first boats to be connected to the spill, has been cleared of any wrongdoing. Minerva Helen was identified as one of several suspect vessels on February 21, 2021, while drifting in the area, due to her proximity to Israel.
The vessel's owner, however, dismissed the charges, citing a Cartagena report by the Spanish Port State Control Authorities, which found no defects in the vessel.
Greek shipowner Minerva Marine welcomed the result of the investigation. “Minerva Marine expresses its sympathy to all those who have been impacted by this environmental casualty and wishes those involved in the clean-up and recovery operations every success in their critical task,” the company stated.
Maritime Business World