Large oil spill clean-up underway in north Cyprus

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A Turkish Cypriot official says it will take at least two months to clean up some 100 tonnes (tons) of spilled fuel oil that has reached the coastline in the breakaway north of the ethnically-split island.

Environment minister Mehmet Harmanci said Thursday that the spill poses a “serious ecological risk” to some 10 kilometers (16 miles) of coastline on the southern side of the island’s Karpas peninsula where protected sea turtles come to breed.

He said marine biologists will assess the impact from the spill that happened Tuesday when a tanker was offloading oil to a power station.

Harmanci said authorities are mulling legal action.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway north.

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