Israeli team in Greece probing ship suspected of oil spill, ministry says

Slideshow ( 3 images )

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has sent investigators to Greece to inspect a ship suspected of causing an oil spill that has covered much of Israel’s shoreline with tar, the Environment Protection Ministry said on Saturday.

Israel has been looking at a spill from a ship that passed about 50 km (30 miles) offshore on Feb. 11 as the possible source of what environmental groups are calling a disaster for wildlife.

“We will ... use all means until we find the environmental perpetrator responsible for the pollution,” Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said in a statement.

Israel did not provide details of the ship. A Greek Coast Guard official who declined to be named said Athens had not received any official request from Israel to inspect a Greek ship.

Volunteers, and thousands of soldiers, have been gathering daily on Israel’s beaches to remove the clumps of sticky black tar, which have also been washing up in southern Lebanon.

Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Maayan Lubell in Jerusalem; Additional reporting by Lefteris Papadimas in Athens