A major oil spill that occurred off the coast of Dilovası in the Gulf of İzmit on Jan. 12 has been cleaned up “to a great extent,” according to Turkey’s Environment Ministry.
The second-degree spill occurred after a tanker docked in the port leaked fuel oil which spread toward the gulf due to intense winds. Despite teams’ efforts to prevent the spread of the leakage, many boats were negatively affected by the fuel. Animals have also been affected by the leakage, with many of them becoming covered with oil and leading to the deaths of some.
The ministry said its Kocaeli provincial directorate, the port authority and Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality immediately intervened against the leakage, adding that the water had been cleared to a great extent and that the further spread of the oil had been prevented with barriers.
On Jan. 13, pollution notices were released in other parts of the gulf, the statement said, adding that based on air control readings conducted by Kocaeli municipality, the pollution was confirmed to have stemmed from the leakage. It said a provincial crisis center was also established by the Kocaeli Governor’s Office after the pollution level was determined to be second degree in nature.
In addition to the cleaning work, a commission was also formed to determine the level of damage caused by the leakage.
Some 350 personnel were also tasked with cleaning operations, and samples were taken to be sent to the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) to determine the source of the pollution.
Concerning the animals affected by the leakage, the statement also said necessary actions had been taken by relevant institutions regarding wildlife.
Dozens of black cormorants were killed by the leakage, while a contractor working in the Körfez district of Kocaeli, İsa Göksü, said he picked up 15 birds covered with fuel oil from the coast and took them to Darıca Zoo. After being cleaned of the chemicals, the animals were put into quarantine.
“When we saw the cormorants that were affected by the pollution on the Körfez coast, we put them in boxes and went to authorities at the zoo to treat them. We handed the birds to the animal hospital. We are happy that we could save some of them,” said Göksu.
The ministry said criminal proceedings would also be launched against the company that caused the leakage, with a demand for compensation.