Closed beaches, fishing banned and significant funding set up for the coast: Eastern Corsica expects with concern and “rage” on Saturday the possible arrival of hydrocarbon pollution likely linked to the illegal degassing of the ship in the Mediterranean.
“We are afraid that part of this pollution is affecting the Corsican coast today (Saturday),” frigate captain Christine Ribbe, a spokeswoman for the Mediterranean maritime prefecture, told AFP.
“We hope to avoid pollution, but it will be complicated,” Francis Giudici, mayor of Ghisonaccie, one of the endangered municipalities whose beaches are closed, complained by AFP.
“I’m very worried. There’s a lot of rage too. There’s not a bit of degassing,” this illegal procedure at sea by which ships take gases out of their oil tanks. “We didn’t need that at the beginning of the summer.”
Spotted on Friday during a military aerial exercise near Solenzara, in the east of the Mediterranean island, oil pollution – a black line in the blue waters of the Mediterranean – is approaching the coast.
“A reconnaissance carried out at the very beginning of the morning established the presence of two spots,” the first which is now located in the area of Alerija 800 meters from the coast, and the second in front of the town of Solenzara 3.5 kilometers from the sea. Coasts, ”Haute-Corsa prefecture said in a press release.
Ecological transition ministers Barbara Pompili and the sea, Annick Girardin, are going to the site on Saturday afternoon to fly over the area and meet the mobilized staff, they announced.
The presence of heavy hydrocarbons, which are difficult to dissolve, is of concern to authorities, who on Saturday launched a plan for the Polmar-Terre coast, which also includes action on the coast.
Haute-Corse Prefect François Ravier has banned access to the beaches for about forty kilometers, between the municipalities of Aleria and Ventiseri, while the island experiences summer time.
The gendarmes asked the bathers to leave certain beaches and signs were placed indicating “forbidden swimming in the sea”.
“The scope of the regulation will be reviewed based on information on the application of stains,” the prefecture said in a statement.
Fishing is also prohibited in these same sectors.
About 80 civil security soldiers, firefighters and gendarmes have been deployed in the region to fight marine pollution.
– Investigation to identify the vessel –
The prefect of Haute-Corse urges the population “not to touch or move on to collecting cakes they are likely to find on the beaches,” but to inform the gendarmerie or firefighters of their presence.
Work is underway to protect three coastal ponds by closing their mouths.
The situation could change due to the rapid relocation of this pollution, however, the prefecture specified.
The French Navy has sent two chartered support and assistance ships (BSAA), “Pioneer” and “Jason”, “with specific pollution protection equipment and specialized personnel from the pollution cell of the Toulon naval base, to strengthen the resources already deployed from Corsica .
The investigation has been opened and entrusted to the Maritime Gendarmerie, Dominique Laurens, a prosecutor from Marseille, responsible for cases of marine pollution on the French Mediterranean coast, told AFP.
“An analysis of maritime traffic in the area is ongoing,” she added.
“The Gendarmerie Research Brigade is investigating to identify the ship responsible for this pollution, and we also have a speedboat on site that is bringing the findings,” Colonel Jean-Guillaume Remy told AFP, the Mediterranean group’s commander.
According to the Maritime Gendarmerie, this is one of the most significant exhaust gases recorded in the last three years in this Mediterranean area.