Spotted since June 11, pollution probably due to the wild degassing of a ship reached the beach of Solaro in Corsica on June 14. The Marseille prosecutor’s office, responsible for maritime pollution, has opened an investigation.
In white overalls, firefighters picked up small oil cakes on June 14 on a beach in eastern Corsica, three days after the discovery of a probable degassing off a ship still wanted by investigators.
Since the spotting of this pollution, on June 11, during a military air exercise off Corsica, air, sea and land resources have been engaged to try to clean up the oil residues, while the tourist season begins. on the Isle of Beauty. On June 14, helicopters continued to track oily slicks at sea.
The oil pellets washed up on Solaro beach, on the edge of Solenzara, a seaside resort on the eastern coast, were reported to the authorities on the evening of June 13. “It looks like little black stones, nothing very important and imposing. On the other hand, there were a lot of them on the beach, ”Ange-Toussaint Gambini, head of the Civil Security section of Corte (Haute-Corse), told AFP on 14 June.
The polluted areas were crisscrossed and prohibited from access by the gendarmes, in particular the entrance to a campsite overlooking the beach. At around 12 p.m., all the residues had been removed, the Haute-Corse prefecture announced on Twitter.
Present on the scene, the prefect François Ravier announced to AFP a “surveillance of all the beaches, beyond that of Solaro on a linear distance of 30 kilometers”, recalling that access to the beaches and swimming were prohibited in the towns of southern Haute-Corse.
An investigation opened by the Marseille prosecutor’s office
At sea, surveillance remains active, using two helicopters from civil security and the gendarmerie, a plane from the Navy and five boats which will be joined by a tug from Ajaccio during the day. “This morning we saw oily stains and micro-pellets which require investigation”, informed the maritime prefecture in mid-day of June 14th.
The slicks spotted at the start of the pollution episode are still drifting south, added the same source, “and we have the impression that we will have to get closer to the coast”. “We recover everything we see emerging, but part of the pollution can be between two waters or at the bottom of the sea,” detailed the maritime prefecture.
A turtle, which was not polluted but “tired”, was recovered in the area.
An investigation was opened by the Marseille prosecutor’s office, responsible for maritime pollution cases on the French Mediterranean coast, which assured on June 14 in a press release that everything was “done to identify the commander and the company responsible for this pollution. “.
According to the prosecution, “the screening made it possible to identify a certain number of suspicious vessels and the checks are underway”.
On June 12 on Twitter, Gilles Simeoni, President of the Executive Council of Corsica, asked to “severely sanction the perpetrators and those responsible” for this pollution.
In the past, several boat captains who carried out wild degassing in the Mediterranean were sanctioned. In 2016, the courts fined the Tunisian Navigation Company for 500,000 euros for degassing in the Mediterranean, committed in 2009, by one of its ferries. In 2008, the Italian captain of a bulk carrier, who carried out a savage degassing south of Toulon in French territorial waters in 2003, was even sentenced to six months in prison.
At the end of 2018, beaches in the Var had been heavily polluted by oil after the collision of two ships off Corsica.