In a press briefing, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel and ministry director-general Rani Amir provide further details on the ministry’s claim that the oil spill was “environmental terrorism” linked to Iran.
Gamliel says the “Emerald” tanker, a 19-year-old Libyan ship sailing under the Panama flag and carrying crude oil from Iran to Syria was responsible for the spill.
“We will sue for compensation in the name of all the citizens of Israel for damage to health, nature, flora and fauna,” she says, pointing the finger at the Islamic Republic.
Amir says the ministry believed the aim was to send crude oil illegally from Iran to Syria and maybe other countries.
He says the ship, which has not been in the area for eight years, spent several days around the port of Latakia last month transferring the crude oil to smaller ships.
“We think the leak that affected us was not during the transfer of oil from Emerald to smaller ships but either a deliberate leak, that is to say terror, or a fault,” he says.
After exiting Egyptian waters, it changed its flag from Maltese to Panamiain and turned off its GPS in an effort to cover its tracks, Amir charges.
— with Sue Surkes