UAE-based Islamic P&I Club provided liability for the tanker, solely used by Iranian shipowners
An Iranian oil tanker deliberately spilled several thousand tons of crude oil into Israel's economic waters last month, according to a report in Lloyd’s List, a leading international shipping journal, which seemed to confirm much of Environmental Minister Gila Gamliel's version of events.
After an investigation, in which Israel narrowed the potential culprits down to 35 ships, Gamliel pointed the finger at Iran, accusing it of "environmental terrorism," by intentionally polluting the Mediterranean Sea along most of Israel's coast.
Lloyd’s List Intelligence vessel-tracking data confirmed last week that a tanker called Emerald was responsible for the spill, while it was carrying 90,000 tons of crude oil from Iran to Syria.
The ministry pinpointed Emerald on the basis of laboratory tests, satellite tracking and a process of elimination to match crude that washed up on Israel’s beaches from February 17, according to Lloyd's List.
UAE-based Islamic P&I Club provided liability for the tanker; which is not affiliated with the 13-member International Group covering 90 percent of the global fleet and is solely used by Iranian shipowners who cannot find insurance cover elsewhere.
Records show that Marshall Islands single-ship company Emerald Marine Ltd. is listed as the anonymous, untraceable owner.
Lloyd's List's findings contrast sharply with a recent Greenpeace declaration, whose director blasted Gamliel's accusations as "scandalous," "lacking in evidence," "a pre-election stunt" and a "blow to Israel's credibility in the international arena."
Israel's Nature and Parks Authority (INPA) called the spill "one of the most serious ecological disasters" the country has ever seen and warned it could take years to completely remove the waste from beaches.