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Kalecik oil spillage update

17 July 2013

The oil spill at Kalecik has now spread up the coast to the lighthouse at Cayirova, covering an area of 7km, due to strong winds and choppy seas. The spillage occurred on Monday night as oil was being pumped from a supply vessel to the AKSA electricity generating plant. A supply pipe burst under pressure releasing 100 tonnes of oil into the sea just on the edge of the Karpaz region.

The government was quick to respond and has set up an emergency committee. A 3km long barrier has already been erected to restrict further expansion of the oil slick. However, as yet there has been no significant attempt to clean up the oil, as the TRNC has not invested in the necessary equipment and chemicals for such an incident. Instead efforts will have to be delayed until the specialist equipment arrives later today on a ship from Mersin, Turkey.

Prime Minister, Sibel Siber, and other Ministers have already visited the scene. The PM said that the government is doing all it can before the oil spill spreads any further. However she did acknowledge that it did not have the proper equipment to deal with the disaster on its own. They were relying on the equipment and supplies coming from Turkey.

Siber stressed the importance of carrying out risk assessments for these types of projects and pointed out that her government had reversed an earlier decision by the last UBP government to build a major oil storage facility in the area.

She also referred to the cost of the clean up and said this would be a major expense, with huge sums of compensation involved.

Fish farms and tourist hotels will be severely impacted by the disaster and have been highly critical of the AKSA power plant. Salih Seyidali, the owner of Deepsea Fisheries Ltd, is just one of the affected parties, with fish storage facilities in the waters off Kalecik. He said their huge network of fish nets will need to be replaced as a result of the spillage, at a cost of approximately 100,000 Euros.

Samples from fish stock will be sent daily to Ankara for assessment of oil pollution. This will continue for at least a month to determine pollution levels and assess the damage caused to the stock.  Compensation will then be sought from AKSA. There are around 400,000 tonnes of fish held in storage nets in the area, which could cost as much as 1m Euros to replace.

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