Israeli minister claims a Libyan tanker with Iranian oil bound for Syria deliberately released cargo onto its beaches
An in-depth investigation led by Israel’s Marine Environment Protection Unit with the assistance of Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research and shipping intelligence company Windward, concluded the Libya-owned tanker Emerald was responsible for the oil spill.
Experts say modelling shows the tar that landed on Israel’s beaches came from an oil stain found by European satellites on 5 February dozens of kilometres off Israel’s coast.
The investigation shows 2002-built, 112,700-dwt Aframax tanker Emerald (ex-Ebn Batuta) had smuggled crude oil from Iran to Syria. After leaving the Iranian region, the ship turned off its automatic identification system (AIS) and did so again before entering Israel’s economic waters.
“This is a crude oil tanker called Emerald, owned and operated by a Libyan company. It was illegally carrying cargo from Iran to Syria. The ship was flying Panama’s flag. Iran is waging terrorism not only by trying to arm itself with nuclear weapons or trying to establish a base near our borders. Iran is waging terrorism by harming the environment, ” said Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel.
Windward provided the shipping data for the Israeli Government in the investigation and chief executive and founder Ami Daniel said, “As an Israeli company that understands the importance of the sea, we mobilised from the first moment to assist the Ministry of Environmental Protection in locating the source of the disaster, and we voluntarily donated the use of our system.”
The investigation believes the ship polluted Israel’s economic waters between 1 and 2 February 2021. The discovery of the actions of Emerald justifies Minerva Marine’s denial that its vessel was involved in the incident.
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