CAIRO: Oil fingerprints from the platform responsible for the recent oil spill on the Red Sea coast of Hurghada will be revealed Tuesday morning to identify the responsible entity.
“We collected samples from the platforms in the area and the leakage. Identical prints will be ready tomorrow at 8 am,” managing director of the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Agency (HEPCA) Amr Ali told Daily News Egypt.
“Until we have the results, we cannot take legal action,” Ali added.
Last weekend, dispatches of oil appeared along an estimated 30 km of Egypt’s Red Sea shoreline, including Hurghada and El Gouna, threatening one of Egypt’s main diving destinations and a pivotal source of tourism revenue.
“It is a big problem. This leakage reached some of the surrounding protectorates,” Red Sea Governor Magdy Qabeisi said in a telephone interception to daily talk show “90 Minutes” on Sunday.
According to Qabeisi, tourists in the surrounding hotels were quick to take part in instant clean-up efforts. He said that some resorts banned their guests from swimming in the polluted water.
“The clean-up process started on Friday and we were able to overcome 75 percent of the problem,” Qabeisi added.
In response, Ali said, “It’s true, the efforts were good but the problem was that action was delayed.”
The leakage is believed to have started on Wednesday but authorities weren’t notified except 48 hours after the leak.
Ali explained that while it is a good thing that most of the damage was contained, there is more to the problem.
“We cannot keep issuing petroleum concessions near national parks,” he said.
HEPCA is an NGO that have been working on protecting and preserving the natural resources of the Red Sea since 1992.
Meanwhile, Qabeisi expressed a different set of concerns.
“More oil might still be trapped in sea. We will be carrying out an observation period for 7-10 days,” he said.
Last Saturday, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Maged George, Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmy and governor Qabeisi visited the areas affected by the spill after a meeting where they discussed clean-up efforts and methods of compensation for the damage caused by the spill.
“I believe that the entity responsible for the spill will be responsible for compensating those affected. But this is a legal matter left to the ministers,” said Qabeisi.
“I am focusing on two things: that another leak is not underway and that I am able to contain the damages caused to the shoreline,” he added.
According to local news reports, hotels in Hurghada have already filed lawsuits against the two ministries for financial losses caused by the spills.
Sources in Hurghada told Daily News Egypt that tourists wary of the long-term effects of the spill started to cancel their reservations, a major blow to one of Egypt’s main sources of revenue.
However, according to Qabeisi, “The spill did not reach the southern area, near Makadi Bay, which is the main tourist concentration here.”
“We cannot stop pumping oil; we will always be subject to such leakage,” he added.