The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has taken emergency action to stop an oil slick that happened due to the functioning of a faulty power plant in Syria which could have caused great devastation to the environment.
“A crisis management desk has been established in response to the oil leak”, said Prime Minister Ersan Saner on Tuesday.
PM Saner said that TRNC is in vigilance and is monitoring the spill in cooperation with Turkey, as it is supposed to reach the island soon.
TRNC Minister of Tourism and Environment, Fikri Ataoğlu asserted that they have prepared in the best possible way to prevent the oil spill from reaching the borders and technical teams have been put to work in this regard. He added that TRNC’s Coast Guard Command and security forces have been deployed in the Karpaz area and have been monitoring developments, as per the Daily Sabah report.
Officials have erected what local media described as a 400-meter barrier off the Karpas peninsula to prevent the slick from reaching the shores.
Turkey also said that it would send two ships to collect the spill and alongside the government has requested an oil recovery vessel from the European Maritime Safety Agency, reported The Guardian.
Environmental officials in Cyprus said that 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil were split from the Syrian plant.
Cemaliye Özverel Ekinci, the head of the north’s chamber of environmental engineers, told the local TAK news agency, “It is a complete disaster for the marine ecosystem. This problem is not just a problem that concerns Northern Cyprus. We should act together with the south.”
Syria’s electricity minister informed the pro-regime Al-Watan newspaper on Monday that the size of the leak ranges from 2 to 4 tons of fuel. It added that a committee had been formed to investigate the cause.
Initial images from the satellite showed the image of an oil sheen 36 kilometers (22 miles) long however new images highlight that the oil spill is much larger than expected and is reaching deeper into the Mediterranean.
The Turkish Vice President said that Turkey is taking all the important measures so that the oil spill does not reach Northern Syria.
Fuat Oktay told Anadolu Agency, “We are taking the necessary measures by mobilizing every means available that we have without giving any chance to the spill to turn into an environmental disaster.”
Oktay added that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also following the updates on the issue closely. He said, “We are in contact with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar and the TRNC authorities as well. The Turkish Embassy is [also] monitoring the matter closely.”
“In this context, all relevant organizations are mobilized and are closely following the issue,” added Oktay.
Oktay said that the relevant ministries “rapidly” talked about the issue and the steps required to be taken. Turkey’s Transport and Infrastructure Ministry will take the necessary measures at sea and the Environment and Urbanization Ministry on the Karpas coast.