The Environmental Protection Ministry on Saturday sent a team of investigators to Greece in order to examine a vessel suspected in an oil spill disaster that threw tons of sticky, black tar onto Israel’s beaches.
Israeli authorities believe a ship was responsible for the spill but failed to report it, and have been investigating to find the culprits.
Meanwhile, the ministry said Saturday that a second suspected oil slick had been identified some 150 kilometers west of Israel’s shores, but appeared to be moving away from them.
The ministry said the dark spot had been detected using Air Force drones, approved for use by Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier Saturday at the ministry’s request.
A storm more than a week ago threw tons of sticky, black tar onto Israel’s beaches, which apparently leaked from a ship.
Reports of the pollution emerged when a dead 17-meter (56-foot) baby fin whale washed up on Israel’s southern coast, along with other wildlife.
These were then followed by tons upon tons of the black substance smearing beaches along 160 kilometers (100 miles) out of the country’s 195 kilometers of Mediterranean coastline, prompting the government to order Israelis away from the areas.
Some experts have called the spill the worst environmental disaster to hit the country’s beaches in decades.
A massive cleanup operation was launched, with thousands of Israelis volunteering to help clean up the shoreline, alongside workers of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and even IDF soldiers.
On Wednesday, as the cleanup gathered pace, the Health Ministry ordered a precautionary ban on the sale of fish and other seafood from the Mediterranean.
Sue Surkes contributed to this report.