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Greenpeace Intercepts "Israeli" Ship Dumping Toxic in Mediterranean

        Activists document sea dumping operation in open sea at night

Nicosia, Cyprus 18 June 1998 - Greenpeace activists in inflatables
intercepted the Israeli ship "Aribel" while it was pumping toxic sludge
into
international waters off Haifa. The dumped material is very acidic and
contains heavy metals such as zinc, cadmium and mercury. This is the
only
known systematic toxic dumping in the world. (1)

Two Greenpeace inflatables marked the danger area with stick lights
alongside the Aribel. The activists in both inflatbles held banners
calling
for the dumping to stop and called on the dumper's radio demanding that
it
stops and returns to Haifa port. The "Aribel's only response was
"negative"
and it carried on dumping at night.

The activists chartered a boat for the peaceful action. The boat took
off
from Cyprus last Sunday and waited in the open sea until activists in
Israel
informed them that the "Aribel" left Haifa Port on Tuesday night.
Greenpeace then proceeded to carry out a peaceful direct action on the
dumper to bring the issue to world attention. They flew a banner that
read
"Danger - Toxic Dumping Zone". The operation has recently started being
carried out at night. This looks like an attempt to hide the evidence of
this outdated polluting practice.

"For the first time the dumping operation has been documented at sea and
the
blackish sludge photographed and filmed to show the world how reckless
the
US-owned Haifa Chemicals is when it comes to the Mediterranean Sea,"
said
Mario Damato, Executive director of Greenpeace Mediterranean Office,
after
he led the action on the Aribel.

"This polluting practice would not be allowed along the US coastline, so
why
is it OK to do it in the Mediterranean."

Greenpeace is appealing to the Israeli government to end the regular
dumping
of toxic sludge in the Mediterranean Sea in line with the spirit of the
current United Nations-declared "Year of the Oceans". The International
environmental organisation has been campaigning against Israeli sea
dumping
since 1994. The Israeli authorities twice promised to stop only to renew
the
dumping permit just as it was about to expire.

Israeli Minister of Environment Rafael Eitan allowed the US-owned Haifa
Chemicals to dump another 60,000 tons of toxic sludge in the
Mediterranean
until next October. (2)

Every time a sea-dumping permit is again issued, the authority claims a
solution will be implemented soon. The Israeli authorities also claim
that
the sludge of Haifa Chemicals, is 'treated remains of potash rock'.

Scientific test results carried out by the Greenpeace International
laboratory at Exeter University in England prove beyond doubt that
samples
taken from the "Aribel" also contain toxic chemicals like polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated benzenes and haloganated
alkanes.
Dumping of such material leads to serious pollution of local sea zones
and
to a negative impact on marine ecosystems. (3)

"The sludge is so toxic that the company is not allowed to pump it into
the
already very polluted Kishon River near Haifa. It is an insult to all
the
people living in the region, especially Cyprus, Egypt and Lebanon to see
this poison being dumped in international waters in their vicinity.
Israeli citizens are the most directly effected, but pollution knows no
frontiers," said Damato.

"We call upon all Mediterranean states to help us stop this dumping and
for
them to stop the pollution their own industry is creating in the fragile
Mediterranean Sea," he added.

"The sea dumping must stop once and for all. Haifa Chemicals must
finally
implement clean production methods eliminating the production of toxic
materials at source," Damato demanded.

For more information please contact Greenpeace Mediterranean Office: In
Beirut at 01-785665 or mobile 03-756429 or In Cyprus Dr. Mario Damato,
Executive Director of Greenpeace Mediterranean, on 00357-9-675333;
Emails:
[log in to unmask] ; [log in to unmask] Greenpeace on
the
Internet: www.greenpeace.org

ATTENTION EDITORS: Photos and TV footage about the action at sea have
been
distributed to international news agencies.

NOTES:

1. Israel is the only country known to be allowing routine dumping
operations of industrial wastes at sea in the world. The London
Convention
(1972), the international treaty that regulates the dumping of wastes
worldwide, bans the dumping of industrial wastes from ships globally.
Israel
has not ratified this treaty. The dumping of industrial wastes from
ships is
also prohibited by the Barcelona Convention's 1995 protocol that
regulates
Ocean dumping in the Mediterranean. But Israel has not signed it because
of
its ongoing sea dumping operations.

2. Israeli Minister of Environment Rafael Eitan broke his promise to
stop
all sea dumping when his ministry again gave dumping permits to Haifa
Chemicals. Eitan promised last July that all sea dumping in Israel would
stop by the end of 1997. This public statement came shortly after
activists
from the Greenpeace ship "Sirius" towed away from Haifa port one of
three
barges used by Haifa Chemicals to regularly dump toxic sludge in the
sea.
Former Environment Minister Yossi Sarid had also broken a promise to end
the
sea dumping.

3. Three samples from the Kishon River mud and two from the tank of the
ship
"Aribel" in Haifa Port were taken by Greenpeace activists last April 13,
before the ship dumped its toxic content in the Mediterranean Sea. In
addition, the samples from the "Aribel" contained toxic chemicals like
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), alkylated benzenes and
haloganated
alkanes. Cadmium, mercury, crude oil and hydrocarbons which may be
derived
>from petroleum, and any mixture containing these, are included in the
Barcelona Convention "Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution of the
Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft" (UNEP 1992, 1995).
According to this protocol, the dumping of such wastes in the
Mediterranean
is prohibited. Only Monaco and Tunisia ratified this protocol. Israel
and
all other states in the basin did not do so.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
-
Zeina Al-Hajj
Greenpeace Mediterranean Lebanon
Email: [log in to unmask]

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-

CONTENTS Volume 6 No.: 57- 1998

                                            All Articles with Writer
byline
                           are to be regarded as expressing their views
                  only...And the appearance of the writer byline does
                     not Automaticly mean we endorse all the writers

positions..



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