Lebanon scrambles to prevent Israeli oil spill from reaching shores

Lebanon scrambles to prevent Israeli oil spill from reaching shores
Lebanese authorities have mobilised to prevent an oil spill off the coast of Israel from reaching Lebanon's southern shores
2 min read
03 February, 2022
A large oil spill last year caused very heavy damage on Israeli and Lebanese shores [Getty- archive]

An oil spill off the coast of northern Israel has prompted authorities in neighbouring Lebanon to take measures to prevent the leakage from reaching its shores.

The National Council for Scientific Research (NSCR), the environment and public works ministries, the Lebanese Army and the Disaster Management Authority will inspect the spill, said to be 125 km away from the border town of Naqoura.

The inspections will take place from the air and the sea, Al-Akhbar newspaper reported, and preventive measures will be taken.

Israeli authorities on Monday announced that an oil spill had located between 20 and 40 km off the Israeli coast. The reason for the spill remains unknown.

An offshore oil spill in Israeli waters wreaked havoc in the eastern Mediterranean a year ago.

The spill, regarded as one of Israel's worst-ever ecological disasters, washed up around a thousand tonnes of tar on the Israeli coastline and at least two tonnes in southern Lebanon, reaching the city of Tyre.

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Director of the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve, Hassan Hamza, told Al-Akhbar that coordination was ongoing with the NCSR to monitor the current spill, while municipalities between Tyre and Naqoura adjacent to the coastline have been told to carry out daily patrols to check beaches for any damage.

Hamza said he hoped municipalities "will remain on standby, because the [oil] spot being talked about is huge, and the weather is against us," adding that last year’s damage took at least three months to clean up.

"It was difficult, especially in rocky areas. There remains some tar in Ras al-Naqoura to this day."

Israel caused very heavy damage across most of Lebanon's coastline in 2006 during the month-long war, when it bombed a number of oil depots. It has refused to compensate Beirut for the disaster, despite a 2014 UN resolution asking for it to do so.