Lebanon inaugurates pioneer scientific ship

03Apr09

Lebanon inaugurated today a scientific ship that will be dedicated to studying flora, fauna and seismic activity off the Mediterranean coast and said to be the first such project in the region.

Cana (as the ship is called) is the first of its kind in the Middle East,” Cosimo Lacirignola, director of the Italy-based International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CHIEAM) told AFP at the inauguration ceremony.

cana_mediterranean_italy_lebanon CHIEAM is running the project, funded almost entirely by the Italian government, in collaboration with Lebanon’s National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS).

The vessel will map out clean beaches in Lebanon and produce detailed bathymetric, or topographic, and seismic maps along a 10- to 15-kilometre-wide (six-to-nine-mile) strip near the Lebanese coast.

By June, we will release the latest map of coastal red and green zones which will guide swimmers as to the beaches to frequent or avoid,” Moueen Hamzeh, head of the CNRS, told AFP.

Environmental organisations for more than two years have warned swimmers of the hazards of dipping into the once-pristine Mediterranean waters which have increasingly become polluted.In July 2006, the worst oil spill in the east Mediterranean left tonnes of crude over most of Lebanon’s coast when Israel bombed a power plant at the popular sea resort town of Jiyeh, south of Beirut, during its month-long war with Hezbollah.

Cana, named after a south Lebanon town that suffered two deadly Israeli air strikes in 1996 and 2006, will be able to identify and analyse pollutants, no small feat in a country like Lebanon, which regularly dumps untreated sewage into the Mediterranean.

Italy has earmarked 2.3 million euros (three million dollars) for the Cana project while the CNRS has contributed 335,000 euros.

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2 Responses to “Lebanon inaugurates pioneer scientific ship”

  1. it it wonderfull to finaly see that something is being done about mapping the lebanese coast line and beyond ,so little is known to us lebanese and divers like myself about these coastal waters ..last 4 years i was promissed sonar findindings and topography maps by the dep. of fisheries and agriculture yet as all promisses ,we got nothing….a few divers and myself have been working on a project about the three under water mountains off the coast of lebanon ,,but we havent been able to get much info,,can anyone lead us in the right direction??? it is our quest for some time ,,any maps any web services or forien ship surveys published????if u do it would be a great help…thanks keep up the good work…

  2. 2 Marcel

    Khay, its good to see Lebanon taking part in taking care of the Mediterranean that happens to border our whole country.


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