Black tar began to bathe on beaches along Israel’s Mediterranean coast last week after an oil spill at sea, Ilan Ben Zion reports for Associated Press. The vessel responsible for the spill is currently unknown, but investigations to uncover its identity are ongoing. Authorities say they have produced a list of ten suspicious ships using satellite data.
The spill, which is said to be tens of tons of tar, has killed or damaged wildlife, including turtle, fish and birds, reports Times of Israel. The carcass of a 55-meter whale was also left ashore and the Israeli Parks Authority tells Times of Israel that the oil spill may have contributed to her death.
“Carelessly, none of the turtles would succeed,” Yaniv Levy, manager of the National Sea Turtle Rescue Center at the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, told Shira Rubin about Washington Post. “Everyone came with a pitch on their head and a large part of their body. They have pitch in their eyes, mouth, nostrils and digestive system. “We were able to remove 99 percent of it.”
In a statement quoted by Times of Israel, Environment Minister Gila Gamliel called the spill “a danger of a magnitude we have not seen in years”. He added that Israel “is doing everything possible to find those responsible for the destruction and is preparing for the difficult and long task of rehabilitating the beaches and preventing further damage to animals.”
In one Facebook post The Israeli Nature and Parks Authority says “the consequences will be seen for years to come.”
ABOUT Times of Israel, some of the thousands of volunteers who were ready to help clean up the spill had to be hospitalized after inhaling the toxic tar gases on Saturday.
Authorities have since closed the country’s beaches to make way for a massive clean-up effort involving the military and urged the public to keep their distance, according to the AP.
“In terms of aquatic ecology, I believe that the images we are seeing are quite self-evident. Terrible sea urchin, “Edo Bar-Zeev, a biologist at Ben-Gurion University, told Rossella Tercati of Jerusalem Post. “We will continue to find this substance on the beaches of Israel for a long time, and the tar will continue to release the carbon it contains back into the ocean.”
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