Mysterious Israeli Oil Spill

By Leah Modica

Israel’s Mediterranean coast is victim of a mysterious “unnatural” disaster. Last week locals reported that they were spotting black tar balls washing ashore on the Israeli coast. Upon further investigation from Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), these tar balls originated from an oil spill from a passing ship.

The Isreali government estimates that the spill took place on February 18th. They were not aware of the spill until a few days later, since the oil did not cover the top layer of the ocean as a typical oil spill would. Due to the rough sea conditions, the tar was heavily mixed with sea water and produced these abnormal tar balls.

On February 21st, satellite images from the European Maritime Safety Agency showed that the spill had most likely originated about 31 miles off Israel’s coast, though the exact cause of the spill and what is responsible for it are still unknown.

Thousands of volunteers, along with the recent deployment of Israeli soldiers, have aided in the coastal cleanup. Unfortunately, several volunteers had to be taken to hospital after breathing in toxic fumes given off by the sludge. On February 22nd, government officials closed the entire length of Israel’s 120-mile Mediterranean coastline to members of the public, due to health concerns.

Disheartening pictures of tar covered adolescent sea turtles and seabirds have been circulating from this incident. On February 18th a deceased fin whale washed upon shore which raised many speculations. Upon an autopsy, it was found that there was liquid black matter in this whale’s stomach, which is still undergoing testing to verify if it is tar. The Mediterrainian sea life will be at danger for a few months to a year until all of the oil is cleaned up.

Today, the specificity of what contributed to this spill remains unknown. However, on February 23rd, a judge issued a gag order on details pertaining to the oil spill. This prevents the Israeli press from publishing anything about the identity of any suspects or origins involved. Could this unusual move suggest a cover up? I’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to comment with suggestions or thoughts below or reach me at INFO@NathanWayne.News

Photo Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images