There was a spill at a refinery plant in Baniyas, Syria, and the massive oil slick is now heading towards Cyprus. The Syrian authorities did not say how much oil could end up in the sea. According to the media, the stain is about 800 square kilometers in size.
Syrian state media reported last week that there has been a leak from a reservoir at a Baniyas oil refinery on the Mediterranean Sea. The region is controlled by the authorities in Damascus.
Satellite images show that the stain spread north along the Syrian coast before moving west towards Cyprus, the BBC reports. CNN writes that the stain is approximately 800 square kilometers in size.
On Tuesday, the Cyprus Mail newspaper reported, citing its own sources, that the stain had approached St. Andrew the Apostle Cape on the northern tip of Cyprus, but the current had changed and the oil had receded towards the Syrian coast.
Support from Turkey
The authorities of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognized only by Ankara) said they are taking “all necessary measures to prevent environmental damage” and said they would receive support from Turkey, which is to send two ships to help collect oil from the surface of the water.
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay told Anatolia that the government in Ankara “will mobilize all available resources to prevent the oil spill from turning into an environmental disaster.”
Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean, 40 km south of Turkey. It is divided into the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus (RC) and the only recognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRCP) by Ankara. The split took place in 1974 as a result of the intervention of the Turkish army in response to a coup d’état by Greek Cypriot nationalists.
Authorities are talking about the accident
The Syrian government previously reported that there had been an accidental spill from the reservoir (media reported it had a capacity of 15,000 tons) at the Baniyas power plant, without specifying how much oil could have found its way into the sea.
Main photo source: MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / PAP / EPA