Spotted by chance on Friday noon during a military air exercise off Solenzara, the two oil slicks that threatened to contaminate the shore of the east coast of the Isle of Beauty have finally taken off.
According to observations from the Mediterranean Maritime Prefecture, they continue to drift south, near the Gulf of Porto Vecchio, this Sunday afternoon, at a distance of about 10 km from the shore.
Under the effect of wind and currents, part of the polluting mass emulsifies, another sinks into the sea and another gradually dilutes.
“Vast clean-up operations have already made it possible to recover nearly four tonnes of hydrocarbons in the area,” indicates the maritime prefecture.
As the risk recedes, access to beaches and swimming must be authorized again in the coming hours.
The ban on fishing, lifted for Haute-Corse, is on the other hand maintained in the waters of Southern Corsica.
A complaint filed
There now remains a question to which the investigation opened by the Marseille prosecutor's office, responsible for maritime pollution cases on the French Mediterranean coast, must answer: which boat is responsible for what is commonly called a wild degassing? "It would be fairer to speak of illegal deballasting," specifies a former container ship commander of the CGA-CGM company. All commercial transport vessels produce water contaminated with hydrocarbons and other oils generated by the operation of their engines. It is possible and authorized, from the high seas, to get rid of this volume of water, from 20 to 30 tonnes on each trip, by separating it from pollutants. But it can also be tempting, so as not to have to pay for the treatment of the remaining residues once in port,to get rid of this water in a wild way in the open sea. "
VIDEO. Corsica: two oil spills detected off the coast
Given the size of the slicks and their significant heavy hydrocarbon content, another hypothesis is being studied. "We are perhaps facing a savage cleaning of the tank bottoms of a tanker," worries Antidia Citores, spokesperson for the Surfrider Foundation Europe, which has announced its intention to file a complaint, with the constitution of a civil party. It is a way of exerting pressure because prosecutions and sanctions are rare in these cases of orphan marine pollution. Our fear is that despite the technical means which make it possible to identify the responsible boat, the country of the flag under which it is sailing will obstruct or drag things out for so long that in the end, no sanction can be pronounced. »Three ships, present in an enlarged area around the pollution,are in the crosshairs of investigators.