Concerted cleaning efforts averted major disaster in Eilat, but more serious oil spills are only “a matter of time” say Israeli officials.
Two separate oil spills contaminated the waters off Eilat in Israel over the weekend. The Jerusalem Post reports that the initial oil spill on Friday morning came from an unknown source, although officials suspect that a Turkish ship, which was leaking oil while docked at the Port of Eilat, may be the culprit.
Friday’s oil spill was discovered in the area between Tur-Yam Marina, bordering the protected coral reserve. Saturday’s leak was discovered in the port.
A cleanup operation was dispatched immediately. Using special equipment, workers from teh Marine Pollution Prevention Station and the Nature ande Parks Authority, with help from Eilat Field School volunteers, managed to clean up both spills relatively quickly.
5 Tons of light fuel oil and 20 barrels of oil were recovered from the Friday spill, and an additional 5 tons of oil were cleaned up in the Port.
Although disaster was averted this time, the Chairman of the Knesset’s Environment and Health committee, Dov Henin, worries that further hindrances to updating the archaic 1952 Petroleum Law will eventually result in more serious incidents.
He said that, “During the deliberations of the subcommittee on oil dangers in the Gulf of Eilat, we discovered an alarming picture of neglect and an inability to cope.” Unless the laws are changed to better regulate the petroleum industry, he said, an “oil disaster in Israel is only a matter of time.”
More on oil spills in the region:
image via www.yarok.gov.il