The Syrian oil spill from the largest refinery in the country is spreading and growing at a rapid speed across the Mediterranean Sea.
The officials of Syria had stated that a huge tank filled with approximately 15000 tons of oil had been noticed to be leaking into the sea since 23rd August at a thermal power plant of the coastal city of Baniyas. Even though the Syrian authorities had claimed that the oil spillage had been brought under control, the spillage has already started to spread across the Mediterranean Sea and according to the resources, it will be reaching Cyprus soon.
Orbital EOS conducted a satellite imagery analysis stating that the Syrian oil spill was way larger than originally anticipated. At the moment it is covering a large area of over 800 square kilometers. The Cyprus authorities claimed that the oil slick is only 7 kilometers away from its coastal island.
The Cypriot Department of Fisheries and Marine research stated that “based on a simulation of the oil spill’s movement and meteorological data, the slick could reach the Apostolos Andreas Cape in the next 24 hours.”
Apostolos Andreas Cape is an island divided between Syria and Turkey and is approximately 80 miles to the west of Baniyas city in Syria.
Photos of an oil spill spreading on the coastal areas of the cities of Jableh and Baniyas have been making rounds on social media, instigating that there is a potential threat to the marine and aquatic life of the region.
A Baniyas resident stated, “people did not need this, it is already hard to make a living here and this certainly affected the lives of many families and made them lose their income.” He further added “the government only sent teams with sponges and water hoses; they do not have the capacity to deal with this…. You cannot clean the sea with sponges.”
The Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay stated “we are taking the necessary measures by mobilizing our resources to stop any chances of the spill turning into an environmental disaster” as the country shares a border with Syria and has also gotten involved in getting the spillage curtailed.
The spillage from the Baniyas refinery has caused a fuel deficit in the country as well as it is one of the major thermal plants of Syria and keeps most of the country powered.
The Syrian oil spill is the second of its kind this year. Earlier in February, an oil spillage off the coast of Israel had caused many problems on the coastal areas of the country as well as tar accumulation on the coastline of Lebanon.