Israeli Environment Minister: Oil spill was Iranian terror

Marine protection head Rani Amir was more circumspect saying he cannot rule out that it was an act of terror by the ship smuggling oil from Iran to Syria.

Israel's Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel has told a press conference that the ecological catastrophe that struck Israeli shores last month was caused by a Libyan ship called the Emerald, which was carrying oil from Iran.

Gamliel said, "Between February 1 and 2 a container of crude oil was poured into the sea and the polluting materials made their way to Israel's shores. Throughout I have said that we are talking about environmental criminals. But we have discovered that we are not only talking about environmental criminals but environmental terrorists. A pirate Libyan-owned ship is responsible for this environmental terror. It left Iran with its radio turned off, turned it back on and again turned it off for a day, before entering Israeli economic waters and polluting Israel's water. When it reached Syria, it turned the radio back on again."

Gamliel added, "We are talking about a 19 year-old ship, which would not be able to sail to European or American ports. The ship is currently in Iran. The State of Israel will demand compensation from the IMF and will settle accounts for the damage caused by the Emerald. We see that Iran is not only operating terror through nuclear weapons but by damaging the environment. When Iran harms the environment, it is not only harming Israel. Our struggle against environmental damage and pollution is a struggle that crosses national borders.

Ministry of Environmental Protection national marine protection division director Rani Amir said that the actions of the Emerald that caused damage were illegal but Israel cannot act directly against it. "We believe that the aim of the ship was to smuggle oil in a covert way from Iran to another country. The movement of the ship, turning off its identification systems, moving around Latakia port (Syria) makes it very clear that the aim was to bring out crude oil on a substandard ship."

He added, "We do not rule out that we are talking about possible terror, or a fault on the ship that wasn't reported.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on March 3, 2021

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