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Cyprus prepares to handle Mediterranean oil spill from Syrian power plant

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In the nation of Cyprus, authorities are concerned over a Mediterranean oil spill that has been caused by a power plant on Syria’s coast that could affect this island. Last week, the Syrian state media had talked of a worrying spill in a plant located in the Baniyas oil refinery. A satellite was used to monitor the flow of the slick that initially spread north along the Syrian coast, before changing directions to head westwards towards Cyprus.

Following its pattern suggests that it will soon reach the Karpas Peninsula in the Turkish-controlled north. The Prime Minister of the region notifies that necessary steps have started to be taken to prevent any damage. Turkey has been requested to assist in tackling the situation.

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The Cypriot authorities have jumped into quick actions to handle the situation before it worsens any further. Officials in the northern part of this partitioned country have erected a 400-metre-barrier, off the Karpas peninsula, to prevent the slick from approaching the coastline.

“It is a complete disaster for the marine ecosystems,” said the head of the north’s chamber of environmental engineers, Cemaliye Özverel Ekinci. The environmental officials of Turkish-occupied Cyprus have estimated that approximately 20,000 tonnes of fuel oil has been spilled. The accidental leak has occurred in the war-affected part of the country. Sand is being used to soak up the excess oil, and prevent further spillage. Machines of suction have also been brought into use. The Syrian government has not emphasized on the scale of the spill so far. The head of the General Directorate of Syrian Ports merely told reporters that the quantity of fuel leaked ‘was not large.’

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The Mediterranean oil spill has made the country wary, with authorities trying to gauge the extent of its likely consequences and steps that can be taken to control the situation from turning severe. Pictures from the spill have been doing rounds all over the media and the world hopes that it is spared any terrifying consequences. In a press meet, the vice-president of Turkey said that the authorities are “mobilising every means available, without giving any chance to the spill to turn into an environmental disaster”.

Alongside the steps taken to control the slick, a committee has been formed to investigate the cause of the spill. The country of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, but there is strong consensus on both sides that this circumstance brings with it the need to work together. With the north and the south collaborating, the effects of the spill will hopefully be limited.

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