Part of oil spill reaches Turkey’s south coast

An oil spill that originated in Syria’s largest refinery has reached the Samandağ district of Turkey’s southern province of Hatay as local authorities have warned residents not to swim.

“The cleaning operation conducted by the Transportation Ministry is ongoing, however, a minor pollution has been detected in Samadağ,” said a statement made by the Hatay Municipality on Sept. 3.

“We have taken all measures. We have towing boats and ships are fighting against the pollution at the moment,” Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu told journalists late on Sept. 2.

Syrian officials said last week that a tank filled with 15,000 tons of fuel had been leaking since Aug. 23 at a thermal power plant on the Syrian coastal city of Baniyas.

Satellite imagery analysis by Orbital EOS indicated on Sept. 1 that the oil spill was larger than originally thought, covering an area of around 800 square kilometers.

“A captain of a towing boat told us that the oil spill is as big as the island of Cyrpus,” said Erkan Sağlamtaş, the head of a local association of fishing ports.