Oil spill in N Cyprus threatens wildlife, tourism
Istanbul, July 17, 2013
Clean-up efforts were underway after a tanker spilled more than 100 tonnes of fuel oil near a pristine coastline in northern Cyprus, threatening wildlife and tourism facilities, officials said on Wednesday.
The spill occurred early on Tuesday as the tanker offloaded fuel at a power station in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled north of the Mediterranean island, Turkish Cypriot Environment Minister Mehmet Harmanci told Reuters in a telephone interview.
The tanker was delivering fuel to the Kalecik power plant owned by Aksa Enerji, the Istanbul-based electricity producer said in a statement to the Istanbul stock exchange.
The firm said close to 40 tonnes of fuel oil had spilled into the Mediterranean and that a barrier had been established to contain the spill. The reason for the disparity in the amount of fuel spilled was not immediately clear.
"The company says the spill occurred due to a problem with the pressure but it may have been due to an improper connection," Harmanci said, adding that human error has not been ruled out.
Local authorities were struggling to contain the slick covering a 7 km (4.5 miles) area along the Karpasia peninsula, he said. Clean-up materials, including solvents, were being sent from Turkey by air but had been delayed.
A barrier has been established but officials are worried about further leakages and are seeking to extend it, Harmanci said, describing the risk as "ongoing".
The Karpasia peninsula is a nature reserve that serves as a breeding ground for rare turtles who lay their eggs in the sand in July and August.
The spill occurred near the town of Bafra, or Vokolida in Greek, whish is on the southern side of the Karpasia peninsula.
"This is the most important time for spawning. Another risk are the facilities nearby in the town of Bafra, our biggest tourism area," Harmanci said.
Cyprus has been divided between Turkish and Greek Cypriots since 1974, when Turkish forces invaded in the wake of a short-lived coup by Greek Cypriots seeking union with Greece.
The Karpasia, which stretches for 80 km in the northeast, boasts unspoilt beaches and a variety of wildlife.
It is one of the last undeveloped areas in Cyprus, spared the ravages of tourism by international sanctions that grind at the northern Cypriot economy.
Only Turkey recognises the Turkish Cypriot administration, while the rest of the world sees the Greek Cypriot government as the sole authority in the island.
Aksa said operations at the Kalecik power station were unaffected. – Reuters
More Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Stories
- Oman Air appoints GSA for Turkey
- $40bn investment in Gulf airports likely
- Celebrity chef to open restaurant at InterContinental
- FRHI appoints wellness vice president
- Dubai, Abu Dhabi hotels top performance
- Malaysia Airlines jet presumed crashed, 239 onboard
- BA rolls out special Mother's Day fares
- Etihad says majority of stranded passengers sent home
- Malaysian jet search team spots 'column of smoke'
- Turkish Airlines revenue surges 27pc in 2013
- GCC airlines defend female cabin crew policies
- Malaysian flight 'presumed crashed' over China
- Qatar Airways likely to buy more A380s
- Malaysia Airlines jet goes missing over China
- Etihad in move to clear flights backlog
- Tourism industry emerges from downturn
- Airbus orders more frequent A380 checks
- Dubai Mall stand offers air safety tips
- Elaf Group plans new hotel in Makkah
- UPDATE: Abu Dhabi airport starts operation
- Qatar Airways mulls options on 3 extra A380s
- RAK features 9 travel firms at ITB Berlin
- Etihad names Patrick Vieira guest ambassador
- Lufthansa to offer Premium Economy Class
- Ras Al Khaimah TDA appoints new CEO
- Abu Dhabi flights hit by 'technical failure'
- Egypt urges Germany to ease travel advisory
- Qatar Airways to get 3 A380s in June
- Paramount eyes expansion in region
- All EU citizens exempt from pre-entry UAE visas