South sends oil booms to mop up spillage

Oil absorbent booms were dispatched to North Cyprus after a request by the Turkish Cypriots for assistance to deal with an oil spill off the coast of the village of Kalecik.

The equipment was sent North via the Agios Dometios checkpoint, a procedure monitored by UNFICYP and in the presence of members of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Turkish Cypriot Commerce who took the initiative to purchase the booms from the South, in an effort to limit the repercussions from the 100 tonnes oil spill on Tuesday after a pipeline from a tanker broke during attempts to supply the AKSA Energy power station.

UNFICYP Spokesman, Rolando Gomez, said the transfer of the oil booms was successfully completed yesterday at 1900 at Ayios Dometios crossing point.

The procedure, he said, lasted only 5 minutes and UNFICYP was there to facilitate the transfer from one truck to the other.

He added that “cooperation and coordination between both sides was excellent. The UN’s role for the moment is not to be involved in the operation to clean up the coast but we are standing by ready to assist”.

According to KEVE Development Manager, Leonidas Pashalides, who is in communication with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce which requested assistance to combat the oil spill yesterday, all available equipment was dispatched to the North. He pointed out the significance of dialogue between the two chambers during such serious incidents.

Fisheries Department Director, Loizos Loizides, said that any pollution in the South will be controlled by handling the situation correctly in the North. He also said the South’s government had expressed its intention to assist and his department was ready to implement the political decisions taken at a technical level. Loizides said it will take time for the environment to recover and undoubtedly combating the spill will cause problems to the beach. He also said that he needed satellite pictures to be able to assess the damage, adding for the time being there is no danger the spill will affect the South, noting that sea patrols are underway.

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