The Ministry of Environmental Protection plans to procure two special ships for handlng marine pollution in the event of a spill from a platform in the Mediterranean. The ministry also plans to build pollution prevention stations in Ashkelon and Haifa. The cost of the ministry's preparations for dealing with marine pollution from a spill is estimated at NIS 22 million. Yesterday, it was agreed that the Ministry of Finance would allocate the money for this purpose.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said today that the agreements with the Ministry of Finance came after it threatened that if the funding was not provided, Ministry of Environmental Protection representatives would not support offshore oil wells.
The two ships will have pumps to collect oil from the sea. The ships will be able to spend a long time at sea. The Ministry of Environmental Protection will also hire nine experts to oversee the matter.
"We cannot continue to rely on luck. We must be ready for breakdowns in wells that will cause serious pollution," said Ministry of Environmental Protection director general Alona Sheffer-Karo. "The agreement reached with the Ministry of Finance enables us to move forward on drilling, while building a rapid response system for handling pollution in an emergency."
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that the development of oil and gas drilling activity in Israel's exclusive economic zone created the need for increased supervision of operations up to 150 kilometers from Israel's coastline. This is in addition to the extensive maritime operations of 2,000 commercial ships, and the 60 collisions a year in the Mediterranean, 15 of which cause marine oil pollution.
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