Environment Minister Costas Kadis said on Tuesday that an oil slick from a Syrian power plant was not expected to cause a problem especially in the government – controlled areas of Cyprus.
Kadis told the CNA that an oil recovery vessel has been made available to Cyprus by the European Maritime Safety Agency and will be deployed if needed.
He said that he was informed of the incident last Thursday and “since then we have been monitoring the situation and the movement of the oil slick, in consultation with the competent European bodies and based on images we receive from them”.
He added that on Monday when it became obvious that the oil slick was moving towards the Turkish occupied area of Apostle Andreas, a national emergency plan for tackling marine oil pollution was activated, which also envisages the convening of a response team, comprising officials from the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research and the Deputy Ministry of Shipping.
The said team is located at the “Zenon” Coordination Centre and continuously evaluates all the data, so that measures can be taken, if needed.
The Minister said that vessels of the Department of Fisheries are in position to intervene in case the oil slick moves to the government – controlled areas of Cyprus. Two vessels of the Department of Fisheries and one vessel of the Naval Command have already deployed at sea, according to Kadis.
He also noted that following a request of the Deputy Ministry of Shipping, the European Maritime Safety Agency has made available to Cyprus the special vessel “Alexandria”, carrying anti-pollution equipment, to be deployed if needed. Cyprus, he said, has also informed Greece and Israel of the incident, in the framework of their trilateral cooperation.
“Nothing has been located in the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus”, Kadis underlined, adding that the Government has communicated with the self-styled regime in the Turkish – occupied areas of Cyprus and has conveyed its readiness to aid in tackling any marine pollution incident. “Unfortunately, our intention and willingness to help, so far, remain unanswered, we have not received any information or any response from the authorities of the illegal regime and so we remain alert”, he noted.
“However, based on the indications, we do not expect to have any problem, especially in the free areas”, Kadis said.
In statements to the press from the “Zenon” Coordination Centre, located in Larnaca, the Director of the Department of Fisheries and Marine Research, Marina Argyrou, said that the slick appeared to be “oil sheen” rather than crude oil.