Syrian authorities said last week that a tank containing 15,000 tonnes of fuel had been leaking since August 23 at a thermal power plant in the Syrian coastal city of Baniyas. He said that they were successful in bringing it under control.
Satellite imagery analysis by Orbital EOS now indicates that the oil spill, as originally thought, covered about 800 square kilometers (309 sq mi) – an area around the same size as New York City. The oil slick was about 7 kilometers (4 miles) off the Cyprus coast, the company told CNN on Tuesday evening.
The Cypriot Department of Fisheries and Marine Research said that, based on simulations of oil spill activities and meteorological data, Slick could reach Apostlos Andreas Cape “in the next 24 hours”. The department posted the statement Tuesday at around 11 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).
It also said it would be willing to assist in combating the spill.
Apostlos Andreas Cape is located in the Turkish-controlled north of the divided island and 130 kilometers (over 80 mi) west of Baniyas, Syria.
Images circulated on social media for more than a week showed oil shortages in Syria’s coastal areas of Baniyas and Jableh, and locals warned of a potential threat to marine life.
A resident of Baniyas, who spoke to CNN under condition of anonymity, had seen much of the coast polluted.
“People did not need it, it is already difficult to survive here and it definitely affected the lives of many families and made them lose their income,” said the resident.
“The government sent teams with only sponges and water hoses, they don’t have the capability to deal with it… you can’t clean the ocean with sponges,” the resident said.
Turkey, which shares a border and coastline with Syria, has also been prepared to contain the spread.
“We are taking the necessary measures to prevent any possibility of turning our resources into an environmental disaster,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Okte told the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The Baniyas refinery is the main source of Syrian fuel products and is essential to keep the war-torn country operating.