TEL AVIV—Israel is undergoing a mass cleanup of its beaches after an oil spill from an unidentified vessel left much of the country’s 120-mile Mediterranean shoreline covered with black sticky tar, in one of the worst ecological disasters in the country’s history.
Tar-covered turtles, a whale and other wildlife have washed up on Israel’s shores in recent days, according to photos on social media. The first reports of the spill came last week after a winter storm created strong waves that brought blobs of tar ashore in Israel’s north.
The spill has affected 90% of Israel’s coastline and the cleanup could take months, if not years, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority said.
On Tuesday, Israel’s government approved plans to allocate $13.8 million to clean up its shores.
Authorities are searching for the ship responsible for the spill, according to Israeli officials. European oil-spill experts in contact with the Israeli authorities said the tarry nature of the oil suggested it could have been exposed to the elements for some time.