Israeli officials arrested two members of the Greenpeace environmental group Sunday for blocking what the activists believed was the dumping of toxic waste into the Mediterranean.
Early Sunday morning, Greenpeace activists in rubber rafts reportedly surrounded the trawler Aribel, off the cost of Haifa, in an effort to prevent it from dumping some 300 tons of sludge it was carrying for Haifa Chemicals.
Divers were said to have attached buoys to the boat saying “Stop,” while the rafts surrounded the boat. After about three hours, the Aribel returned to port. Police later detained the two activists.
Officials at Haifa Chemicals, one of the world’s largest producers of potassium nitrate, which is primarily used for fertilizers, said they were licensed by the Environment Affairs Ministry to dump their waste.
In the eight years that the company has been dumping waste, no detrimental change has been noted in the sea environment, the official said.
Greenpeace activists said the waste was toxic and causing harm to the sea environment.