Aframax crude oil tanker MINERVA HELEN is designated as a prime suspect in a recent oil spill accident off the Israeli coast, which left dozens of kilometres of beaches polluted with tar.
The Greek company that owns the Minerva Helen responded, saying that it was “not the source of the leak” and also denied responsibility for the Danish spill in 2008.
The Minerva Helen left Port Said, Egypt on February 11 en route to Israel.
It allegedly experienced a significant leak in international waters, more than 50 kilometres off the Israeli coast, turned around and set sail for another port in Egypt.
It is now anchored off the coast of Cartagena, Spain.
Israeli Gov imposed a gag on news revealing suspects names, to “prevent owners from destroying evidence”, but the gag was lifted, and some of Israeli news outlets already have no doubts, that the culprit is MINERVA HELEN, which according to them, “suffered a malfunction causing the massive discharge, befouling the waters”.
It’s not a proven fact yet, it’s so far, speculations and allegations. Only chemical analysis of samples, and all ship’s operations related records investigations, may present substantial evidence.
Environmental experts warn that the cleanup of Israel’s beaches could take years.
On Tuesday, the Cabinet approved the allocation of $13.7 million to remove the tar from the beaches and repair the ecological damage.
As tar continues to wash up on shore, authorities have warned the public to stay away from the beaches and to not go swimming until further notice.
The current position of MINERVA HELEN is at coordinates 37.4741 N / 0.0456667 E, reported 2 hours ago by AIS. The vessel is en route to the port of Piraeus, sailing at a speed of 13.5 knots and expected to arrive there on Feb 27, 12 PM.
The vessel MINERVA HELEN (IMO: 9276561, MMSI 240147000) is a Crude Oil Tanker built in 2004 (17 years old) and currently sailing under the flag of Greece.