World, Environment

Oil leak from Syria heads northward, drifting away from Cyprus

Larger oil mass drifts away from Northern Cyprus, smaller mass blocked by barriers, says Turkish Cypriot official

Muhammet İkbal Arslan   | 01.09.2021
Oil leak from Syria heads northward, drifting away from Cyprus File Photo

LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

A massive oil slick from Syria's Mediterranean coast has taken a northward turn, away from the shores of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a Turkish Cypriot official said on Wednesday.

Referring to the , Tourism and Environment Ministry Undersecretary Serhan Aktunc told the Turkish News Agency that

The larger mass of the fuel oil that has been drifting over the past week between Syria and the island of Cyprus has advanced northwards, with officials deploying barriers to block the flow of smaller patches towards the shores of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

He added that environmental teams from the TRNC are monitoring the southern shores of the Karpas peninsula from the ground, besides satellite monitoring.

"The weather conditions are still on our side," said Aktunc.

With the arrival of waste collection vessels from Turkey, the leakage will be cleaned, yet the process is expected to take a while, he added.

Environmental officials will conduct routine checks for two to three more months once the vessels leave, Aktunc said, adding that authorities would continue to plan for the medium and long term according to reports from seaborne teams and Turkey.

A crisis desk has been set up in the TRNC to monitor the progression of the oil slick, which leaked from a power plant in the city of Baniyas last week, towards Cyprus, according to naval tracking firm Tanker Trackers.

* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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